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Another brick in the wall

Principal builder’s failure to inspect brick pillar negligently injures roofer

J-Corp Pty Ltd v Thompson [2019] WASCA 173

The Court of Appeal of Western Australia has upheld a builder’s appeal that the primary judge erred by adopting a ‘hindsight’ approach in finding a breach of duty to avoid a particular incident. However, the Court went on to also uphold the injured roof carpenter’s contention that the facts supported breach of duty even when the correct ‘prospective’ test was applied.

This case highlights that, on certain facts, a principal’s obligations to co-ordinate the activities of trades, and more generally as occupier for the safety of entrants to the site, can give rise to a duty to inspect the work of independent contractors. 

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