It’s a common misconception; many homeowners and property managers believe that by outsourcing the maintenance and repairs, they are removing themselves from all possible risk or liability.
And this just isn’t the case.
Of course, when you hire an expert, such as a professional plumber or roofer, you can reasonably expect them to know what work is required and how to conduct it safely and in compliance with the local regulations.
But like most professions in life, not all tradies are equal.
If you think about one of the more dangerous areas of a home – such as its roof – it’s unfortunate that, even in these modern times, people fall and people get injured or worse. In fact, according to Safe Work Australia, 122 people died falling from roofs between 2015-2019 which is a staggeringly high number given the regulations and awareness that exist in the building industry.
So, the question we seek to answer is, can you, the homeowner, be sued if something like this happens to a contractor (tradie) at your home?
Well, at the risk of sounding like lawyers, the answer is ‘it depends’. Sure we’d all like a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ but it’s simply not that simple.
Whilst the home or building owner is not generally responsible for the actions of contractors working at their premises, there are exceptions. Let’s focus on homeowners rather than wading into the legal jungle that is construction management.
Using our roofing example, if a tradie comes to fix or replace your roof then they are responsible for their conduct and services. If they do not have the required qualifications, training, or equipment; it’s on them. But that doesn’t mean that the homeowner can relinquish themselves of all responsibilities.
In the legal world, the term ‘negligence’ is hugely powerful. As an example, you can’t insure against negligence, and for good reason. And in a commercial setting, the value of a claim for negligence usually circumnavigates any liquidated damage caps but, that’s for another day.
What steps can you, the homeowner, take to reduce your risk in the event a workcover incident occurs at your property?
These are four very simple steps that can help to reduce your risk significantly. Remember, if a tradie’s price is lower than another, ask yourself why. Don’t just fall into the trap of accepting the lowest price; there’s nearly always a trad- off for doing so i.e. lower work quality and/or increased risk.
For professional roofing companies such as ours, we see examples of this all the time. Complying with the requirements laid out by the NSW Government SafeWork team can often mean that two people are required for a job that requires working from height. Imagine the difference between a quote that is compliant versus one that isn’t … sure one is cheaper, but at what cost?
And money aside, nobody wants to see a tradie get injured or killed for the sake of shaving a few dollars off a quote. We insist that our roofing teams remain compliant and vigilant at all times – people before profits!
If you have any roofing or gutter repairs or replacements that need doing or any height safety requirements, why not give our team a call. When you’re on the phone with us, ask about our license, insurances, and employee training programs. We’d be only too happy to talk to you about everything we do to keep our team safe and get your job done!