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Developers’ liability

It was a developer’s nightmare: all 94 properties on their estate were affected by inadequate foundations. Shortly after construction the owners were reporting that because of cracking the properties were unsaleable, difficult or impossible to mortgage and they could not obtain any insurance against the risk of subsidence.

What went wrong?

The estate was built on a former landfill site in the North-East of England, and the properties had piled foundations. Following a court case Encia (the piling contractor) was found liable for failure to exercise reasonable skill and care in the design and construction of the piles. The developer, Shepherd Homes, bought back five of the properties, re-piled 20 and planned to re-pile another ten. In the latest litigation ten other properties were considered. These suffered from a variety of internal and external cracking and sagging of floors. The judge said that on inspection the cracking looked minor, but accepted that it had blighted the whole estate. More…