Reading the story in Building on 9 April (BDP faces £4.6m claim over Wimbledon media centre), I was disappointed, but sadly not surprised, to see yet another high-profile court case involving latent defects
When a person buys a washing machine or a car, they receive a warranty that they are statutorily entitled to and which protects them should the product develop a defect. Similarly, when a mortgage is required for a new-build residential property, a Council of Mortgage Lenders member usually requires a minimum 10-year warranty. However, when a builder or construction firm applies for finance to build a commercial property, no warranty is required.
It is often assumed that a warranty is not necessary, as owners are free to sue. And this is exactly what is happening at Wimbledon. However, in order to recover losses, the injured party will need to prove negligence and this almost always leads to a difficult legal battle as the finger of blame is usually pointed at a number of parties. Meanwhile, the owner is left with an unsuitable building and no way to finance the repairs.
All commercial buildings should have long-term structural warranties in the form of latent defects insurance. This would cover the risks associated with defective design, workmanship or materials.
Building on commercial properties without the security provided by latent defects insurance is irresponsible and reckless and puts the funder at risk
Put simply, building on commercial properties without the security provided by latent defects insurance is irresponsible and reckless and puts the funder at risk unnecessarily.
Peter Vanderweele, Oval Insurance Broking