Certain words and phrases occurring in building contracts have been construed judicially for the purposes of the particular contracts in which they occur. These are set out below, but it must be borne in mind that the meanings given to them are not necessarily applicable in all cases as the interpretation of each contract must depend upon the construction of its particular terms.
'Abut' and 'abutting' denote physical contact1.
An act of God is such an operation of the forces of nature as reasonable foresight and ability could not foresee or reasonably provide against2.
The degree of proximity denoted by the term 'adjacent' is a question of circumstances3.
'Adjoining' does not necessarily imply absolute contiguity4.
To 'afford access' means that there must be a physical means of access and at the relevant time the contractor must have the opportunity to enter by means of that access5.
'Approval' means, it would seem, in general approval with full knowledge, or at all events approval with the opportunity of full knowledge6.
An 'approved plan', referring to a plan approved by a local authority, means one lawfully approved, and not one which, though approved by the authority, is illegal7.
In the context of a clause prohibiting assignment, 'any sum which is or may become due or payable' means a claim which can be expressed simply as a present or future claim for a fixed amount due under the contract and excludes claims for damages or for sums which fall to be assessed under or in
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