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legal action against approved inspector

legal action against approved inspector

Postby be96erj » Sun Jan 15, 2017 10:53 pm

Can anyone tell me what the latest thoughts are re suing approved inspectors? I know that local authority inspectors have been deemed to be beyond reproach, but it would appear that as if a contract exists between the parties, the approved inspector is open to tort.

Basically, my building inspector made a pigs ear of things and is trying to make out it is my fault.

One thing I noticed is that in the site reports he sent me, it states that the next site visits were to be within a max of 28 days. One of my site visits was over this and I believe caused problems with my build. Could I sue on this basis?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: legal action against approved inspector

Postby dls » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:38 am

I assume you refer to outsourced buildings inspectors. I think you would start by asking to whom their duty is owed - whether their duty is toward the land owner, or to the rest of us by protecting usall against unsafe buildings.

The supervising architect is the one whose job it is to protect the land owner.
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Re: legal action against approved inspector

Postby tph » Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:03 am

Generally the job of a building inspector is one of inspection at set points during the build. They do not have a responsibility to ensure things are built correctly. That duty is with the builder and possibly the designer.
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Re: legal action against approved inspector

Postby dls » Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:50 pm

There is some very ancient case law on this.

Start here:

Murphy v Brentwood District Council: HL 26 Jul 1990
References: [1991] 1 AC 398, Times 27-Jul-1990, [1990] 2 All ER 908, [1991] UKHL 2
Links: Bailii
Coram: Lord Oliver, Lord Keith of Kinkel
Ratio: The claimant appellant was a houseowner. He had bought the house from its builders. Those builders had employed civil engineers to design the foundations. That design was negligent. They had submitted the plans to the defendant council for approval under the building bye-laws. The Council approved them. The Council was negligent in so doing. The inadequacy of the foundations meant that they did not prevent differential settlement which badly affected the claimant's house. The cost of repair was £45,000. He did not repair but instead sold it for £35,000 less than he would have obtained for it had the foundations been designed properly. He sued the council in respect of this damage.
Held: To hold a local authority, in supervising compliance with the building regulations or bye-laws, to a common law duty of care to avoid putting a purchaser of a house in a position in which he would be obliged to incur such economic loss was an extension of principle that should not, as a matter of policy, be affirmed. A builder was not liable for purely economic, as opposed to physical, losses of an occupier of a building he constructed.
Lord Oliver said: 'In his classical exposition in Donoghue v. Stevenson . . Lord Atkin was expressing himself in the context of the infliction of direct physical injury resulting from a carelessly created latent defect in a manufactured product. In his analysis of the duty in those circumstances he clearly equated 'proximity' with the reasonable foresight of damage. In the straightforward case of the direct infliction of physical injury by the act of the plaintiff there is, indeed, no need to look beyond the foreseeability by the defendant of the result in order to establish that he is in a 'proximate' relationship with the plaintiff . . The infliction of physical injury to the person or property of another universally requires to be justified. The causing of economic loss does not. If it is to be categorised as wrongful it is necessary to find some factor beyond the mere occurrence of the loss and the fact that its occurrence could be foreseen. Thus the categorisation of damage as economic serves at least the useful purpose of indicating that something more is required.'
Lord Keith said that if the plaintiffs had happened to discover the defect before any damage had occurred there would seem to be no good reason for holding that they would not have had a cause of action at that stage, without having to wait until some damage had occurred. They would have suffered economic loss through having a defective chimney upon which they required to expend money for the purpose of removing the defect. It would seem that in a case such as Pirelli, where the tortious liability arose out of a contractual relationship with professional people, the duty extended to take reasonable care not to cause economic loss to the client by the advice given. The plaintiffs built the chimney as they did in reliance on that advice. The case would accordingly fall within the principle of Hedley Byrne.
This case cites:
    - Cited - Anns and Others v Merton London Borough Council HL (lip, [1978] AC 728, [1977] CLY 2030, [1977] 2 All ER 492, Bailii, [1977] UKHL 4)
    The plaintiff bought her apartment, but discovered later that the foundations were defective. The local authority had supervised the compliance with Building Regulations whilst it was being built, but had failed to spot the fault. The authority . .
    - Overruled - Dutton v Bognor Regis Urban District Council CA ([1972] 1 All ER 462, [1972] 2 WLR 299, [1972] 1 QB 373, [1972] CLY 2352)
    The court considered the liability in negligence of a Council whose inspector had approved a building which later proved defective.
    Held: The Council had control of the work and with such control came a responsibility to take care in . .
    - Cited - Donoghue (or M'Alister) v Stevenson HL ([1932] AC 562, [1932] SC (HL) 31, [1932] ScLT 317, Hamlyn, [1932] All ER Rep 1, (1932) 101 LJPC 119, (1932) 147 LT 281, [1932] SLT 317, (1932) 48 TLR 494, (1932) 37 Com Cas 350, Bailii, [1932] UKHL 100, [1932] Sol Jo 396, [1932] WN 139, [1932] SC 31, (1933) 4 DLR 337, 533 CA 47)
    The appellant drank from a bottle of ginger beer manufactured by the defendant. She suffered injury when she found a half decomposed snail in the liquid. The glass was opaque and the snail could not be seen. The drink had been bought for her by a . .
    - Cited - Farr v Butters Brothers and Co ([1932] 2 KB 606, [1932] All ER 339, (1932) 147 LT 427, (1932) 101 LJKB 768)
    Breaking the chain of causation in a negligence claim. . .
(This list may be incomplete)
This case is cited by:
    - Considered - Stovin v Wise (Norfolk City Council, 3rd party) CA (Times 08-Mar-94, Gazette 13-Apr-94, lip, [1994] 3 All ER 467, [1994] 1 WLR 1124)
    A road user was injured on a corner which was known to the highway authority to be dangerous. The authority had sought to make arrangements with the owner of land adjoining the highway to remove a bank which obstructed the view.
    Held: The . .
    - Cited - Bellefield Computer Services and others v E Turner and Sons Limited and others CA (Bailii, [2002] EWCA Civ 1823)
    The defendants had carried out works of construction on the premises. They subcontracted the design, but not the supervision, of the works to architects. Years later there was a fire, which spread rapidly because of negligence in the design of a . .
    - Cited - Bellefield Computer Services Limited, Unigate Properties Limited; Unigate Dairies Limited; Unigate (Uk) Limited; Unigate Dairies (Western) Limited v E Turner and Sons Limited Admn (Bailii, [2000] EWHC Admin 284, [2000] BLR 97)
    The Defendant builders constructed a steel building to be used as, inter alia. a dairy. The original owners sold it to the appellants. A fire spread from the storage area to the rest of the dairy and caused much damage. The Builders, had they . .
    - Cited - Binod Sutradhar v Natural Environment Research Council CA (Bailii, [2004] EWCA Civ 175, Times 19-Mar-04, Gazette 01-Apr-04)
    The defendant council had carried out research into a water supply in India in the 1980s. The claimant drank the water, and claimed damages for having consumed arsenic in it.
    Held: There is a close link between the tests in law for proximity . .
    - Cited - Alfred Mcalpine Construction Limited v Panatown Limited HL (Times 15-Aug-00, House of Lords, Gazette 05-Oct-00, Bailii, [2000] UKHL 43, [2000] 4 All ER 97, [2000] 3 WLR 946, [2001] 1 AC 518)
    A main contractor who was building not on his own land, would only be free to claim damages from a sub-contractor for defects in the building where the actual owner of the land would not also have had a remedy. Here, the land owner was able to sue . .
    - Cited - Abbott and Another v Will Gannon and Smith Ltd CA ([2005] BLR 195, Bailii, [2005] EWCA Civ 198, Times 29-Apr-05)
    The claimant had employed the defendants to design refurbishment works for their hotel. The work was said to be negligent, and the claimant sought damages. The defendant argued as a preliminary point that the claim was time barred. The question was . .
    - Cited - Invercargill City Council v Hamlin PC (Times 15-Feb-96, 50 Con LR 105, [1996] AC 624, Bailii, [1996] UKPC 56, 78 BLR 78, [1996] 1 NZLR 513, [1996] 1 All ER 756)
    (New Zealand) Seventeen years earlier the plaintiff had asked a builder to construct a house for him, but it now appeared that the foundations had been inadequate. The building company no longer being in existence, he sought damages from the local . .
    - Cited - McTear v Imperial Tobacco Ltd OHCS (Bailii, [2005] ScotCS CSOH_69, Times 14-Jun-05, Scottish CS)
    The pursuer sought damages after her husband's death from lung cancer. She said that the defenders were negligent in having continued to sell him cigarettes knowing that they would cause this.
    Held: The action failed. The plaintiff had not . .
    - Cited - HM Customs and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc HL (Bailii, [2006] UKHL 28, [2007] 1 AC 181, [2006] 4 All ER 256, [2006] 2 LLR 327, [2006] 3 WLR 1, [2006] 2 Lloyd's Rep 327, [2006] 1 CLC 1096)
    The claimant had served an asset freezing order on the bank in respect of one of its customers. The bank paid out on a cheque inadvertently as to the order. The Commissioners claimed against the bank in negligence. The bank denied any duty of care. . .
    - Cited - D Pride and Partners (A Firm) and Others v Institute for Animal Health and Others QBD (Bailii, [2009] EWHC 685 (QB))
    The claimants sought damages after the loss of business when the defendants' premises were the source of an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. The organism had escaped from their premises via a broken drain.
    Held: Much of the damage claimed . .
    - Cited - Michael and Others v The Chief Constable of South Wales Police and Another SC (Bailii, [2015] UKSC 2, Bailii Summary, [2015] 2 WLR 343, [2015] Med LR 171, [2015] 2 All ER 635, [2015] HRLR 8, UKSC 2013/0043, SC, SC Summary, SC Videoa Summary)
    The claimants asserted negligence in the defendant in failing to provide an adequate response to an emergency call, leading, they said to the death of their daughter at the hands of her violent partner. They claimed also under the 1998 Act. The . .
(This list may be incomplete)

Last Update: 17-Jan-17
Ref: 180994
Damages, Negligence
See also: http://swarb.co.uk/murphy-v-brentwood-d ... -jul-1990/
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