What is 'fitness for purpose'?

'Fitness for purpose' is a phrase used to describe the concept that goods or services must be capable of being used for the intended purpose for which it was purchased. In a construction context, the phrase is usually used when a contractor promises that its works are capable of being used in a way that the principal intends for them to be used.

In a construction context, a promise that something will be fit for a particular purpose or use may arise in three ways:

  • by an express term in the contract;
  • by implication of the common law; and
  • by implication of statute.

This chapter examines how fitness for purpose requirements arise and the consequences of the requirement.

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