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NSW Do I Have a Case Against the Council for Negligence?

Discussion in 'Property Law Forum' started by Mick Dickson, 26 October 2015.

  1. Mick Dickson

    Mick Dickson Member

    26 October 2015
    Likes Received:
    Hi, do I have a case against the council for negligence? Surely there must be a duty of care. I would appreciate any assistance on the following issue.

    I was an owner builder but hired a qualified builder and tradespeople to help built a set of dual occupancy units, which were passed by council and a final certificate was issued in 2007, stating all things were built as per the engineers drawings, etc.

    In 2012, I finalised the subdivision and a strata plan was created. Once again the council signed off that everything was built according to the engineers drawings.

    In August 2015, I went to sell my property only to find from an engineering report that there was negligence on the council and/or builder and that the work is non-complying. Significant structural retaining walls under the house were not constructed as per the engineering drawings.

    8 years have passed and the builder has retired. There must have been several inspections / hold points for sign off by council inspectors in regards to footings and retaining walls underneath the house. The cost to rectify this work is $78000.

    If this had of been picked up by the council after the footings were poured and before the walls were built the cost to comply would have only been a fraction of this cost.

    Can anybody help?
  2. James D. Ford - Solicitor

    James D. Ford - Solicitor Well-Known Member
    LawTap Verified Lawyer

    19 June 2014
    Likes Received:
    Hi Mick

    Based on what you have described, you have an engineers report that clearly states that there has been negligence by the Builder in not building according to the engineers drawings, as well as negligence on the part of the Certifier who inspected and signed-off on the completed work as being compliant.

    You may find that even though the Builder has retired, the insurance policy covering the Building Work may still be applicable.

    Did the Council do the Certification, or was a third-party Certifier used?

    It is likely that the negligence will not fall 100% on the shoulders of the Builder, or 100% on the Certifier... depending on the facts, if a Court were to decide they might find contributory negligence on the part of both. So if legal action is taken, it will need to be against both.

    Kind regards,

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