Words:
Alistair McGrigor

For owners to win redress under the 1972 Act, a dwelling must be unfit to live in

Architects need to be aware of their possible liabilities under the Defective Premises Act 1972.  By taking on work for the design of a new dwelling (or the creation of several new dwellings from the conversion of an existing single building, for example) an architect will be liable to the person commissioning the works – or to a future owner of the works – if the design is not carried out in a professional manner so that the dwelling will be fit for habitation when completed.

This is not limited to the first owner or first purchaser, but will apply to all parties who in the future acquire an interest in the dwelling.  The existence of mere defects does not create liability, the dwelling must actually be unfit for habitation for an architect to be liable.

Another key risk for architects to be aware of is that the test is whether the architect has acted in a ‘professional manner’.  

That may not involve negligence on the part of an architect, and therefore the professional indemnity insurers may not cover an architect’s liability for the claims under the DPA, unless there is also negligence on the part of the architect.

Latest

With retail flagging how can we bring life back into towns? Architects, this is your chance to step up

With retail flagging how can we bring life back into towns?

Gundry + Ducker's innovative design for the RIBA Marketplace stand at this year's Futurebuild event is made from Rockwool insulation and Rockpanel cladding for a restful, reading room feel

RIBA hub design at Futurebuild keeps things quiet

As cuts in public services bite ever deeper it’s down to local people to save and reinvent neglected or redundant structures. Architects play a crucial role

Local activists need public-spirited architects

National Museum, Tartu, Estonia

National Museum, Tartu, Estonia

Impressive productivity gains are offset by rising payroll costs in the RIBA Business Benchmarking Survey  this year

Revenues are rising twice as fast as staff numbers