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Could a builder be considered negligent, or be held liable if a user slipped on the bathroom floor after construction?

Last Updated: 24th April 2014

This is a difficult question and depends on the quality of construction (degree of trip and slip hazard risk considered reasonable) and the wording of the original design brief. In Australia manufacturers supply product specifications, but there are no regulations on truthful product labelling or compliance with any particular slip resistant standards. Moreover what occurs in usage is impacted on by wet/dry conditions, spillage and degree of slope. Furthermore in a bathroom situation, it is possible to have soap or talc build up.

To reduce liability builders need to ensure that appropriate tiles/coatings are used to ensure high slip resistance (i.e. Coefficient of Friction of 0.6+ for persons with balance or gait problems), and good quality of construction (ie. no trip/slip hazards, adequate floor fall for good drainage). More information on the standards can be obtained at the HMinfo Clearinghouse Resource Library and Listserve.

The “Building Requirements and Design Ideas” category at the Independent Living Centre contains information on products that improve safety.

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