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CHAPTER 4 The standard of reasonable skill and care

Professional Negligence in Construction

Page 59


The standard of reasonable skill and care

The standard of reasonable skill and care

  • Section A: the Bolam test 59
  • Section B: exceptions to the Bolam test 62
  • Section C: establishing the standard 65
  • Section D: codes of practice 67
  • Section E: the band of reasonable actions 68
  • Section F: outcome, not methodology 69
  • Section G: seniority, resources and price 71
  • Section H: delegation 72
  • Section I: duty to review 74
  • Section J: skill and care not enough 76

Section A: the Bolam test

4.1 As set out above in Chapter 2, the contracts of construction professionals almost always require the professional to carry out services with reasonable skill and care. The precise formulation of this contractual standard may vary (and that can introduce subtle variations in the standard) but the practical consequences of such variation are nugatory. In each case, the way in which the professional acted will be measured against the way in which a court or arbitrator thinks that a hypothetical competent construction professional of the relevant discipline would have acted placed in exactly the same situation. This is known as “the Bolam test”.

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