ICE Legal Notes Series: Liability for latent defects

This paper gives advice on where professional liability exists for defects, and differentiation between contractual and tortuous liability.

ICE Legal Notes Series: Liability for latent defects
ICE Legal Notes Series: Liability for latent defects

Who wrote this?

The ICE Legal Advisory Committee


It was first published in 1991.


To give members some guidance in the difficult legal area of latent defect liability. 

Who should read this?

Anyone who is interested in the legalities of liability for latent defects in UK law.


This paper gives details on latent defects. It covers:

  • Which types of latent defect is a professional liable?
  • What is the last date when a client can sue a professional?
  • Can a client assign a right to sue for latent defects?
  • What insurance is available to protect the professional?
  • Liability in contract 
  • Liability in tort (delict in Scotland) 
  • The measure (quantum) of damages 
  • Differences in Scotland
  • Limitation of actions 
  • Insurance to cover liability for latent defects 
  • European laws

Other titles in this BIM and the Law series

  • Engineers and Auditors 
  • Liability for Latent Defects (formally Liability for Latent Damage) 
  • Collateral Warranties 
  • Expert Witness Guidelines (formally Expert Witnesses and their Clients) 

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