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Developers should be made liable for negligence by subcontractors

In a recent case brought by The Sea View condominium’s managing body against the property’s developer Wheelock Properties, its architect and its main contractor, the court ruled that the three defendants can claim they were not liable for the negligence of the independent contractors they engaged.

Patrick Tan Choon Hong

In a recent case brought by The Sea View condominium’s managing body against the property’s developer Wheelock Properties, its architect and its main contractor, the court ruled that the three defendants can claim they were not liable for the negligence of the independent contractors they engaged.

This means the damages claimable could be limited.

This is a legal loophole that should be closed. When disputes over defects arise, the developer should not be allowed to shirk its responsibility. It makes no sense for buyers to go after the subcontractors themselves, as it is a complex and expensive process. Buyers do not sign contracts with a developer’s subcontractors. They sign contracts with the developer, and the developer should be held responsible and go after their subcontractors themselves.

This is something Parliament should examine, and enact any necessary changes to protect buyers while raising the standards in our building and construction industry.

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