A couple who were heartbroken 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 in 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 High 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 property.

The company was contractually responsible for the faulty installation work carried out by a subcontractor and had no viable defence to the couple’s claim. A decision regarding the amount of compensation payable was deferred for agreement between the parties or for assessment by the Court at a later date.


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