Bellefield Computer Services and others v E Turner and Sons Limited and others: CA 18 Dec 2002

The defendants had carried out works of construction on the premises. They subcontracted the design, but not the supervision, of the works to architects. Years later there was a fire, which spread rapidly because of negligence in the design of a wall intended to restrain any fire. The architects said their duty was limited to responding to the first defendant’s requests for plans, and they did not themselves have responsibility for failures of specification.
Held: The omissions in design were the responsibility of the architects, who owed a duty of care to purchasers of a building as beneficial owners, where they had been involved in the construction, in respect of latent defects in the building of which there is no reasonable possibility of inspection.


Lord Justice Potter Lord Justice May Sir Anthony Evans


[2002] EWCA Civ 1823




England and Wales


ApprovedBaxall Securities Ltd Norbain SDC Ltd v Sheard Walshaw Partnership TCC 30-Oct-2000
. .
CitedMurphy v Brentwood District Council HL 26-Jul-1990
Anns v Merton Overruled
The claimant appellant was a house owner. He had bought the house from its builders. Those builders had employed civil engineers to design the foundations. That design was negligent. They had submitted the plans to the defendant Council for approval . .
CitedMoresk Cleaners Ltd v Hicks 1966
If a dangerous defect arises as the result of a negligent omission on the part of an architect, he cannot excuse himself from liability on the grounds that he delegated the duty of design of the relevant part of the building works, unless he obtains . .
CitedHenderson v Merrett Syndicates Ltd HL 25-Jul-1994
Lloyds Agents Owe Care Duty to Member; no Contract
Managing agents conducted the financial affairs of the Lloyds Names belonging to the syndicates under their charge. It was alleged that they managed these affairs with a lack of due careleading to enormous losses.
Held: The assumption of . .
See AlsoBellefield Computer Services Limited, Unigate Properties Limited; Unigate Dairies Limited; Unigate (Uk) Limited; Unigate Dairies (Western) Limited v E Turner and Sons Limited Admn 28-Jan-2000
The Defendant builders constructed a steel building to be used as, inter alia. a dairy. The original owners sold it to the appellants. A fire spread from the storage area to the rest of the dairy and caused much damage. The Builders, had they . .

Cited by:

CitedSahib Foods Limited and Co-operative Insurance Society Limited v Paskin Kyriakides Sands (A Firm) TCC 3-Mar-2003
The claimants were lessees of premises, and the second claimants had contracted to purchase it. The premises burned down, and the claimants sought damages from the architect respondents. The fire began because of negligence by the claimant’s . .
CitedIndependiente Ltd and others v Music Trading On-Line (HK) Ltd and others ChD 13-Mar-2003
The claimants claimed damages for the sale by the defendants in the UK of CD’s manufactured for sale only in the far East. The defendants challenged the right of a claimant phonographic society to have the right to sue on behalf of its members.
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Professional Negligence, Construction

Updated: 27 October 2022; Ref: scu.178522