Tort, contract and duty of care in a claim for builders' negligence


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There are few things as exciting for a family as getting the builders in, whether it is to build a loft conversion, an extension or to install a new kitchen. However, in the event of incompetent or negligent building work, a time of excitement can quickly turn to one of inconvenience, trauma and great expense - in such a situation it may be possible to make a claim for builder's negligence .

Duty of Care and Breach of Duty

Although the majority of builders are competent and skilled professionals who are adept at following instructions, there are an unfortunate minority who will disregard instructions or possess insufficient skill to provide a competent level of execution.Unfortunately, the fact of negligence alone is not enough for a solicitor to ensure a successful claim for builder's negligence - however, if you have paid a builder to make extensions or alterations to your home and that work has fallen below a reasonable standard and you have, as a result, suffered damage or financial loss, you may be able to establish a claim for negligence.In order for such a claim to succeed, it will be necessary to prove that the builder owed you a duty of care, that this duty has been breached, whether in tort or contract.There is a rich history of precedents available in case law to help inform professional negligence solicitors, courts and judges of the duty of care owed by builders to clients. For example in Hedley Byrne v Heller & Partners, Judge Morris stated that "it should be regarded as settled that if someone possessed of a special skill undertakes, quite irrespective of contract, to apply that skill for the assistance of another person who relies upon such skill, a duty of care will arise."

Types of negligence

Claims for builder's negligence typically involve instances of work being unsafe, unfinished, inconsistent with terms of contract or instruction, carried out using inappropriate materials, carried out at unreasonable cost or being unreasonably delayed.


In some cases of negligent work the best redress may be to have the original builder replace, repair or return to sort out the problems.However, in some cases, particularly if there has been serious damage or financial loss, compensation may be viewed as the only satisfactory outcome.

Healys professional negligence solicitors

Contact our Brighton and London offices for advice and support about making a claim for builder's negligence . Use our call-back form, call directly on 020 7822 4106, or click through to our individual professional negligence lawyers.

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