Line of duty

Stephanie canham landscape

Stephanie Canham considers the extent of the duty to warn

A tricky question at some stage in the working life of almost everyone involved in the construction industry is: who should you inform if you are concerned about something or something goes wrong? In the narrowest sense, it is obvious – you alert your line manager and in turn the matter is escalated to those in charge of the project/the key stakeholders. However, as building projects involve increasingly complex relationships, it can be difficult to figure out who is actually responsible to whom and who should be warned if there are or are likely to be difficulties with particular aspects of the works or services.

Are there any rules of thumb concerning who (apart from your line manager/client) should be advised about potential concerns? Even carefully negotiated contractual arrangements can leave parties scratching their heads. Assignments, novations and warranties (which may or may not include obligations to warn as part of their duty of care provisions) can all contribute to the confusion.

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