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Builders Liable After Fire Destroys £4 Million Eco-Home

A couple who endured untold heartbreak when their £4 million eco-home burnt to the ground when it was close to completion have won the right to full compensation for their loss from a construction company involved in the project.

The couple sued the company for more than £3.5 million damages after fire tore through the property which was built on a private island off the south coast of England. The company disputed the cause of the blaze and denied that it was contractually bound to compensate the couple for their devastating loss.

However, in entering summary judgment against the company, the Court found that the defective installation of a log burner and flue had sparked the fire. Combustible materials were closer to the chimney than the 50mm distance required by building regulations. The burner had been in use for only two weeks when the fire took hold in the building’s roof space, largely destroying the building.

The company was contractually responsible for the faulty installation work carried out by a sub-contractor and had no viable defence to the couple’s claim. The amount of compensation payable was left over for agreement between the parties or for assessment by the Court at a later date.

Iliffe & Anr v Feltham Construction Limited. Case Number: HT-14-39