Do Builders Owe You A Duty Of Care?

October, 2014

This may seem reasonable.  After all a purchaser cannot usually check the quality of the builder’s work as it is being done. The same goes for a developer – they rely on their builders to do their job. However in Brookfield Multiplex Ltd v Owners Corporations Strata Plan 61288 [2014] HCA 36 the High Court of Australia (“HCA”) considered more is needed than mere reliance on a builders’ work to give rise to a duty of care. As explained by the Court, you must be vulnerable to your builders before a duty of care will be imposed. In Brookfield both the developer and the original purchasers entered into contracts, which gave them the right to have defects in the common property remedied. Relevantly, the contracts expressly outlined the quality of work expected of their builders. In the eyes of the law, this demonstrated the ability of the developers to protect against the defect. The Court denied their vulnerability to any lack of care by the builder in performance of their contractual obligations.  It follows that the mere fact you are relying on your builders to properly execute their skills and labour may be insufficient to give rise to a duty of care.

Privacy Policy | Terms of Use