Q&As

How can a party recover for damage caused to its property by construction works undertaken on a neighbouring property by a subcontractor, and should the claim be brought against the neighbour, the main contractor or the subcontractor?

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Published on LexisPSL on 26/08/2016

The following Construction Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • How can a party recover for damage caused to its property by construction works undertaken on a neighbouring property by a subcontractor, and should the claim be brought against the neighbour, the main contractor or the subcontractor?
  • Liability of main contractor and employer

Liability in tort may arise in a number of different ways in connection with construction operations, for example liability for damage to adjoining/neighbouring land and buildings.

For liability in negligence to be established, four elements must exist:

  1. duty of care

  2. breach of that duty of care

  3. damage (which is caused by the breach)

  4. foreseeability of that damage

For more information see Practice Notes: Key elements to establish a claim in negligence, Negligence in construction and, more generally, subtopic: Tort for construction lawyers.

For practical purposes, the test of whether a duty arises is (in effect) whether the harm in question was reasonably foreseeable (Murphy v Brentwood) in accordance with the principles articulated in the speech of Lord Atkin in Donoghue v Stevenson.

Where the loss arises out of physical damage to property, and this is a direct consequence of the defendant's conduct, it is likely that a duty of care arises. In Caparo v Dickman the cou

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