Liability of Surveyors
We have seen in Chapters 2 and 6 that in the absence of a contract it is extremely difficult now for the purchaser of a defective building to bring a successful action against either the builder or the designer of the building. The reason for this is that the loss in such circumstances is likely to be economic and such loss is irrecoverable in the tort of negligence except where the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant can be brought within the scope of the principle in Hedley Byrne v. Heller.1 This has had vital implications for surveyors because, following the decisions of the House of Lords in Murphy v. Brentwood District Council2 and Department of the Environment v. Bates,3 the only means by which a purchaser of a defective building may be able to recover his losses is to sue his surveyor. The liability of surveyors has, therefore, assumed a unique, and, for surveyors, an ominous, importance in Construction Law.
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