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Cooperative Retail Services V. Taylor Young Partnership Notes

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COOPERATIVE RETAIL SERVICES V. TAYLOR YOUNG PARTNERSHIP FACTS On 16 March 1995 a fire occurred at a site in Rochdale where a new head office headquarters building was being constructed for Co-operative Retail Services Ltd ("CRS"). The building was extensively damaged, and CRS sustained loss for which they seek damages in this action. They allege that the fire resulted from negligence or breach of contract on the part of their architects, Taylor Young Partnership Ltd ("TYP"), and their mechanical and engineering consultants, Hoare Lea & Partners ("HLP"). TYP and HLP have joined as third parties the main contractors, Carillion Construction Ltd (formerly Wimpey Construction UK Ltd ("Wimpey")), and the electrical sub-contractors, East Midlands Electricity Electrical Installations Services Ltd (trading as Hall Electrical ("Hall")). TYP and HLP allege that the fire was caused by breaches of the main contract by Wimpey and by breaches by Hall of a warranty entered into by Hall with CRS and Wimpey. TYP and HLP nevertheless claim that they are entitled to seek a contribution from Wimpey and Hall under section 1 of the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978. They do so on the basis that Wimpey and Hall are liable to pay compensation to CRS in respect of the same damage as that for which they themselves are said to be liable. HOLDING LORD HOPE Exclusion under the Contract - Wimpey not under a "liability" to CSR The effect of these clauses is that the contractor is not liable to pay compensation to the employer for loss and damage to the works which may have been caused by fire prior to the date of practical completion. Clause 20.3 excludes the contractor's liability for any such loss or damage, even though the fire was caused by his negligence, breach of statutory duty or default. Instead the funds necessary to pay for the restoration of the physical damage caused to the works by fire, including the associated professional fees, are to be provided by means of insurance under the joint names policy. There is no doubt that both the main contract and the sub-contract contain provisions which have the effect in the clearest terms of excluding liability for damage to the works, work executed and site materials due to the negligence, breach of statutory duty, omission or default of the contractor and the sub-contractor respectively: see clause 20.3 of the main contract and clause 6.4 of the sub-contract. This has not been disputed by Mr Blackburn. It is also plain that

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