When you move into a newly built property, whether it be your home or commercial building, it can be an exciting time. However, if you notice faults in the building’s structure or other issues that could possibly deem the property uninhabitable, it can be worrying. There are various regulations within construction law, including the Defective Premises Act 1972, that can protect your rights, but it can be difficult to understand where to start. Therefore, seeking expert advice from a construction law solicitor should be your first step.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in London, we have years of experience in handling construction law disputes. No matter whether you have found a defect, or you wish to defend yourself against a claim, we can help build your case and seek out the relevant evidence. If you need advice on the duty of care in new builds, you have come to the right place.
Where Does the Duty of Care Lie?
Duty of care in the construction industry arises due to contractual obligations or tort of negligence. Usually, designers, builders and contractors of a property are contracted to provide a reasonable level of skill that is up to the standard of a competent professional. Their duty to the homeowner or landlord is to perform services with a standard of care that you would expect from a professional in that field.
In construction, it is expected that any buildings completed would be fit for purpose. If it is found that they are uninhabitable due to a construction fault, disputes and claims can arise. ‘Fit for purpose’ is not usually extended to designers unless the contract specifies this. Under the Defective Premises Act 1972, the contractor is under obligation to complete work in a “professional manner with proper materials” so that the building will be fit for habitation once completed.
Duty of care also applies in tort of negligence unless a contract has restricted this duty. Contractors will usually owe a duty of care to their clients, promising to take reasonable care to avoid causing injury or damage to the property. When there is no contract, liability may arise in a duty to warn. This happens when a ‘competent contractor’ should have realised that materials or design elements were going to cause a defect. If you would like more advice on how to build a case in terms of a lack of care, you can give us a call on 0208 769 6739 to book a free consultation.
The Consumer Code
The Consumer Code for Home Builders should be followed by those that build your new home and can be relied on in any claims you make. The Code aims to provide all new-build home buyers with reassurance that they will be treated fairly, and they understand what level of service they should expect.
New-build buyers should know their rights before purchasing, and builders are required to have a system in place for dealing with complaints. The Code applies to new-build buyers, who purchase on or after 1st of April 2010. It can be referred to if the property is not built on time, and if there are any problems with fittings or fixtures.
If you discover a fault in your new-build property, you should speak to the contractors first, who may be able to get the matter resolved for you. Be persistent, and make sure you have evidence of the fault and your attempt to resolve the issue. If all avenues have been explored and the contractors or builders are still refusing to engage, you should seek advice from a qualified construction law solicitor.
Seeking Legal Advice: Our Construction Law Experts
Seeking expert advice from a qualified solicitor could save you a lot of issues in the future. It is the only way to get agreements in writing, and they also have the knowledge of the law behind them. Here at Van Eaton Solicitors, we will analyse your case to identify which laws or regulations have not been adhered to, and we will always be transparent with you about the credibility of your claim.
If you would like to find out more or to obtain a free consultation, please fill out our online form here.