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Builder’s GUBU

A breach of contract does not give rise to an entitlement to compensation for every loss sustained by a Plaintiff.

Some losses are deemed too remote for the Defendant to be held responsible for them.

A good example of this occurred in Balfour Beatty Construction (Scotland) Ltd v Scottish Power plc [1994] CILL 743.

The Plaintiff was constructing a concrete aqueduct over a roadway. It established a batching plant to provide the concrete on site, with the Defendant supplying the power to run the plant. The concrete had to be delivered in one continuous process; a hiatus longer than 30 minutes would prevent a re-start and would ruin the work and materials applied. The Defendant’s power supply failed during the batch run. The work done had to be undone and the Plaintiff had to start again.

The court held that the Defendant was not answerable for the cost of demolition and reconstruction because the Plaintiff had not informed it of the need for a continuous pour.