Which Term Prevails In A Building Contract: The Specifications, Or A Warranty Of Fitness For Purpose?


A building contract usually includes a term requiring that the work or materials supplied adhere to the specifications. The contract may also contain implied or express warranties that the work will be fit for the intended purposes of the building project and free of defects. What happens when those terms result in inconsistent results? What happens when, by adhering to the specifications, the work is not fit for the purposes intended or contains a defect?

In two recent decisions, the courts have held the contractor was liable to the owner when the contractor followed the owner's specifications and, in doing so, produced work which was not fit for the intended purpose.

Is this a fair and proper result? Does this fairly account for the owner's responsibility for the specifications? Should there be a sharing of the blame if the specifications result in a defective work?

building contracts, specifications,implied duty of fitness for purpose and good workmanship,contractor's duty to warn of unfit design

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Thomas Heintzman
Arbitration Place

Thomas G. Heintzman specializes in arbitration and mediation at Arbitration Place in Toronto. His... View Profile »

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