STATUTORY REGULATION OF WORK
The common law places few restrictions on the performance of construction work, and the arrangements that a land owner may make to have construction work performed on his land. Broadly speaking, if the work does not unduly affect other land owners or persons in the immediate vicinity, an owner of land1 may do whatever he pleases when it comes to building on it. The common law seeks to uphold, rather than constrain, a land owner’s right to use and enjoy his land without being told by anyone else what he can or cannot do on it. It places no general restrictions on who may perform construction and engineering work, and the terms on which they may undertake to do so. Furthermore, at common law any person, however skilful or unskilful, experienced or inexperienced, honest or devious, may carry on business as a building contractor, and may contract on whatever terms he is able to agree. The construction industry that the common law would permit to operate (and possibly flourish) may therefore be described as truly “free market”.
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