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The meaning of “the total cost of works”

Building Law Monthly

The meaning of “the total cost of works”

In Alebrahim v BM Design London Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 183 the Court of Appeal held, in the context of a contract for the interior design of a substantial flat in a mansion block, that the words “the total cost of works” were a reference to the total cost of the works to the client as set out in the weekly estimates supplied by the contractor and were not a reference to the cost to the contractor of purchasing the relevant items of furniture and fittings. This is not a conclusion of universal application in relation to the meaning of the disputed words but very much depends on the wording of this particular contract and in this respect the Court of Appeal expressly acknowledged that in some forms of building contracts references to cost will be to the cost incurred by the contractor in carrying out the work.

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