Buyer beware? The current Australian position on the liability that a contractor owes to a subsequent owner of a building

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The liability that a contractor owes to a subsequent owner of a building is a grey area of the law. Numerous factors come into play including the necessary distinction between residential and commercial buildings.

Disputes concerning residential buildings have upheld the principle in Bryan v Maloney that a contractor can be liable to a subsequent owner for pure economic loss caused by defective construction or design, yet no corresponding duty exists where commercial buildings are concerned.

This article looks at the many facets of contractor liability for subsequent building owners including whether or not the contractor is a layperson or developer, determining which parties have a contractual obligation between them, the impact of technologies such as building information modelling (BIM) and the role of the designer versus builder versus sub contractor.

Click 'Download' to read the full article, which first appeared in the Australian Construction Law Newsletter May/June 2013.

The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.


Jaclyn Masters

Senior Associate. Melbourne
+61 3 9672 3428