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HES6793 | Assignment One Construction Law | Law

HES6793 | Assignment One Construction Law | Law


You are the Principal Engineering Consultant employed by  Brownwood Mining and Power ( BMP). BMP operates a large open cut mine which has been established for some 50 years  and is close to residential areas. As the mine is quite old it is not very profitable to operate.
BMP is undergoing some  long overdue repairs and maintenance of the mine. BMP engages Worldwide Electrical Company Ltd (WWE)  to carry out necessary electrical works and the removal of obsolete electrical structures. The mine has been operating for some time and a certain disused areas have had fire safety equipment  systems and sprinkler systems removed due to cost pressures.
In the course of carrying out its work WWE causes a fire from equipment that it is using to carry out the work. The work was carried out in conditions of high fire risk but WWE was given a tight deadline to complete the work.
Due to the fact that the fire safety equipment systems and sprinkler systems were removed from certain parts of the mine the fire spreads extensively and causes damage.
There are various potential claims from persons who have suffered damage.
 Damages have included
  1. Houses being burnt down
  2. Numerous persons suffering hospitalisation due to the aggravation of their health conditions due to the smoke and haze from the fire
III. Businesses that have had to close as they could not operate due to the dangerous circumstances and closeness to the fire.
  1. Workers is being stood down as a result of the interruption to the production of the businesses.
(1) Does BMP  have any liability at law for the damages caused by the fire and what is the basis in law of determining  such liability? what is the extent of the duty of care of BMP?
(2) What is the basis of attributing any liability for the damage arising from the fire to BMP  or WWE?
(3) In the case where there is a legal liability, what are the limits imposed on recovery in respect of the various classes of persons to whom the damage was caused? (the persons referred to above)
  1. Having regard to the problems experienced, what procedures would you put into place to limit exposure to a claim in negligence? Does compliance with current standards bar successful claims for negligence?

Module 1  and 2
Learning Material Course Documents all detailed references to cases are in the learning material
  • Woolcock Street Investments V CDG [2004] HCA 16
  • Burnie Port Authority V General Jones [1994] HCA 13
  • Johnston Tiles V Esso [2003] VSC 27
  • Leighton Contractors Pty Ltd v Fox [2009] HCA 35
  • Sydney Water Corporation v Turano [2009] HCA 42
  • Wyong Shire Council v Shirt [1980] HCA 12
Learning Material Construction Law Readings
  • Northern Sandblasting V Harris [1997] HCA 39
  • Northern Territory V Arthur John Mengel [1994] HCA 33
  • Perre V Appand [1999] HCA 36
  • Caltex Oil V The Willimstad [1976] HCA 65
  • Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW v Dederer [2007] HCA 42
  • Torts – Discussion of RTA and Dederer (On blackboard)
  • Part 12 Chapter on Professional Liability in textbook
  • Protection of Rights After Woolcock Investments (on blackboard)
  • Engineers Australia Code of Conduct
The following feedback on Past Assignments has been included to assist students. This does not form a formal part of the Direction for the Assignment
There were some basic matters
  1. Bibliography or Reference List
This is necessary to include a list of all the material read including cases, articles and textbooks. This helps the assessment of the work. The list should include all the items read including items that were not specifically quoted.
  1. Basic Readings
The assignment included a reference to the items of the blackboard and some specific cases. Some students did not include even the basic cases in their answer.
  1. Support Contentions by principles in Case Law
You should always state what principle in case you rely on and explain it in your own words.

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