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LPA 71 – Duty to Warn on a Construction Project – Managing the Risk

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Published May 2021

Construction operations, if not undertaken with appropriate care, have the potential to cause serious harm to those involved and significant damage to property. In English law, a mere bystander has no ‘duty to warn’ (to inform a third party of a risk or hazard), but where parties are connected by contract then a duty to warn can arise, either as a result of an express term in the contract, or pursuant to the implied duty to exercise reasonable care and skill and the concurrent duty of care in tort. There are no reported cases in which a duty to warn is said to arise solely in tort, (which would be subject to the rules against recovery of economic loss in tort) or be owed to a third party.

This document discusses various situations in which a duty to warn has or has not been held to arise, in order to make AGS members aware of factors that have been taken into account when determining whether such a duty exists.