- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 01 Oct 2018
Duty to warn in construction
In Cleightonhills v Bembridge Marine (2012) , Mr Justice Akenhead stated that “In my view, there can be little doubt that a failure to warn in the case of potential danger to human beings may give rise to a breach of any duty of care owed to a third party by a party who knows of the danger. I use the word "may" because it is necessary always to review all the circumstances and there might be circumstances which justify not warning. Where the parties are in contract, the duty to warn may extend to dangers of which the party in question should have been aware by reason of its involvement.”
Where there is a danger to health and safety, it may not be enough to simply warn of the danger, it may be necessary to do so vigorously, or to refuse to proceed with the works. In Plant Construction plc v Clive Adams Associates and JHM Construction Services Ltd, JHM did warn of problems but were found to be in breach anyway because they had not protested enough.
These duties are fairly restricted; it must be reasonable to impose a duty to warn in the circumstances. However, it is an evolving area of law, and it is possible in the future that the courts could extend the duty to warn to broader commercial issues, rather than just where there is a potential danger.
NB: On NEC contracts, both parties must give early warning of anything that may delay the works, or increase costs. They should then hold an early warning meeting to discuss how to avoid or mitigate impacts on the project. In the case of a compensation event, if the contractor fails to give early warning of a possible delay to the works, or increase in costs, they will only be compensated for effects that would have remained anyway even if they had given early warning.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Brown v KMR Services Ltd.
- Compensation event.
- Duty of care.
- Early warning notice.
- Good faith.
- Independent Broadcasting Authority v EMI Electronics Limited and BICC Construction Ltd.
- Plant Construction plc v Clive Adams Associates and JHM Construction Services Ltd.
- Reasonable skill and care
- Sidaway v Governors of Bethlem Royal Hospital.
 External references.
Featured articles and news
A procurement method associated with Public Private Partnerships.
Infrastructure can use digital technology to encourage human growth.
Robotics and the construction industry.
ECA comments on CLC's three-phase recovery plan.
Their diplomatic and architectural history.
The origins of the six volume series.
Built to defend British waters, only to serve as pirate radio stations later.
Wellbeing to influence mix of home and office based working.
An introduction to cobotics.
Survey reports on outlook for the engineering sector.
A simple path to possible error avoidance.
Construction + technology = ConTech.
New low and high tech tools enter the marketplace.
Report looks at mental health in the built environment.
Radiant wall heating method to control rising damp.
What future infrastructure provision might look like.