Australian commercial law case study
In undertaking the demolition of an old factory, Building Pty Ltd’s workmen had to dismantle a large brick chimney stack that was part of the old factory. The CEO obtained engineering advice that the most efficient method of demolishing it was to use a controlled series of explosions. That would require council permission and the taking of a number of safely measures including the installation of physical barriers to prevent members of the public entering the area during the demolition and the erection of safety nets to ensure that any loose bricks dislodged by the explosions were contained within the site and not allowed to escape to cause damage outside it.
Council permission was obtained and all of the recommended safety measures were put in place. Unfortunately one of the explosive charges mis-fired and, as a result, the chimney toppled towards an adjoining building instead of collapsing in on itself as had been planned. It caused some structural damage to the adjoining building. A local resident who had climbed over the physical barriers which were clearly marked with signs reading ‘Danger. Keep Out. Explosives in Use’ in order to take photographs of the explosions was also injured, as was a passing car which was hit by a loose brick which had unexpectedly been projected over the safety nets. This was the only brick that was not stopped by the nets.
The owners of the building that was damaged, the local resident who was injured and the owner of the car are all threatening to sue Building Pty Ltd in negligence. Should the CEO be concerned? Explain your reasoning.