The term ‘workmanlike manner’ is commonly used in construction contracts to describe the standard of work and practice required from a contractor working on a project. However, its precise meaning is seldom defined in any detail.
The term tends to be interpreted as a requirement to use the degree of skill, efficiency and knowledge possessed by those working in the trade or business that the contractor has been employed in.
Traditionally, the phrase was taken rather loosely to refer to the way work was customarily done by contractors 'in the community'. However, the performance of other contractors ‘in the community’ might not be sufficient to comply with the legal standards expected by the specific works being carried out. Contractors must continually evaluate the quality of their performance and understand the standards against which that quality will be measured in order to comply with their obligations under the contract.
Regulation 7 of the building regulations, Materials and workmanship, requires that building work shall be carried out in a workmanlike manner. Approved document 7 suggests that contractors can comply with the regulation if '...workmanship is such that, where relevant, materials are adequately mixed or prepared and applied, used or fixed so as to perform adequately the functions for which they are intended.'
This, it suggests relates to the provision of reasonable:
- Health and safety.
- Resistance to the passage of sound.
- Conservation of fuel and power.
A reasonable standard may be demonstrated by:
- Compliance with a standard
- Independent certification.
- Management systems.
- Past experience.
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