Fitness for Purpose. When this term is included within a construction contract, this generally means that the contract works, when completed, must perform as intended.
A helpful case to understand this obligation is the case of Greaves & Co (Contractors) Ltd v Baynham Meikle and Partners –  3 ALL ER 99. Here, the contractor was instructed to design and build a warehouse for oil storage. However, a short time after the works were completed, the warehouse floor began to crack and because of this, the works did not perform as intended. The contractor was then held liable for this failure as it was decided that the works should have been fit for purpose as an oil storage warehouse.
In construction contracts, unless expressly excluded, there will generally be an implied term in the contract that the completed works will be fit for purpose. However, even in the standard forms of construction contracts, the application of the ‘fitness for purpose’ obligation is inconsistent and minor contractual amendments can often change this obligation (and the contractor’s subsequent liability) significantly.
Our advice is simple: if in doubt, seek good legal advice. Quigg Golden are heavily experienced in this regard and can draft or review any proposed contract terms for you and advise on any disputes that may arise on existing contracts that you are party to.
Check out Quigg Golden’s supporting articles on the topic of Fitness for Purpose:
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