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Subcontractor must pay for faulty workmanship

Posted: 12th November 2014   In: Dispute Resolution

A subcontractor has been told it must accept liability for faulty workmanship that caused a flood at a block of flats even though the work was examined and signed off by the construction company running the project.

The case involved flats built in the south of England. The construction company responsible for the development subcontracted out much of the work.

Months after the job had been completed, a water pipe burst and caused substantial damage to several flats.

The building owner made a claim against the construction company.

They construction company sought indemnification from the subcontractor, claiming the flood was due to poor workmanship rather than a design error.

After lengthy investigations, it was found that there was a flaw in the construction company’s design, but there was also a fault in the work carried out by the subcontractor.

The subcontractor accepted that there was a fault in its work. However, it claimed that because this wasn’t noticed when the work was signed off, the construction company was equally responsible.

The judge ruled that the blame for the flood lay with the faulty work of the subcontractor. At the time of sign-off, it had not left the water system in full working order.

The design flaw of the construction company, and the fact that it failed to notice the faulty workmanship, were not enough reasons to invalidate the indemnity claim.

The construction company was entitled to recover its losses paid to the property owner. The subcontractor was ordered to pay damages for breach of contract.

Please contact Clare Jones if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of contract law.