In the Spencer on Byron decision the Supreme Court considered whether the owners of a Takapuna hotel development, the Spencer on Byron, were owed a duty of care by the North Shore. City Council in respect of the Council's inspection and certification of the building in 1998-2001.This is the first time the Supreme Court was called upon to determine the issue of whether owners of non-residential property may be owed a duty of care by Councils.
Grimshaw & Co acted for the Spencer on Byron body corporate and owners.
In its judgment announced today the Court decided Councils owe a duty of care in relation to their statutory functions under the Building Act 1991 to the owners of all buildings, irrespective of whether the buildings are residential or non-residential.
The decision is historic. To date, in a line of cases dating back to the 1970s, the Courts have only imposed duties of care on Councils in respect of residential premises. In recent times lower Courts have expressly rejected claims by the owners of non-residential property. Now the owners of offices, factories, churches, hospitals, motels, hotels, schools and all other buildings may sue Councils in respect of their negligent inspection and certification of buildings in order to recover damages for necessary remedial work.
It follows that developers, architects, project managers, builders and contractors will now also owe duties of care in respect of non-residential property.
We recommend all owners of property built within the last 10 years consider their position
following this important judgment. There will be thousands of buildings constructed in this period that leak or that have other construction defects. The owners of these properties should take expert building advice as to whether there may be any defects within their property and take urgent legal advice from leaky home lawyers as what steps they can take to preserve their ability to claim against the Councils and other parties responsible for the defective construction.
Please contact Grimshaw & Co for a review of any claim you may have, on (09) 377 3300.
Because of the 10 year issue, time is of the essence.
About Grimshaw & Co.:
Grimshaw & Co. is one of the leading leaky homes and leaky building lawyers in New Zealand. They have extensive experience and expertise in settling weathertight homes disputes. They also specialise in insurance law, professional negligence, employment law, construction and drafting disputes, defamation and media law.
For more information visit: http://www.grimshaw.co.nz