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Plant Hire – Have you read the Contract?

by | Feb 16, 2016 | Contractors All Risk | 0 comments

Plant Hire | CivilSure Insurance for the Construction Industry
Do you ever get evidence of the Plant Hire Contract when you hire in a Concrete Pump Truck or another item of plant? Knowing the Terms and Conditions of hiring plant in is a fundamental step you don’t want to miss. Where there is documentation to support the hire of plant, it may take various forms. Usually, there will be some form of order. Whether it is a specially designed pro-forma, or just an email or facsimile , it should provide sufficient information to enable the Terms & Conditions of Hire to be clearly identified. In a perfect world, every hiring of plant would be covered by a separate, written Hire Agreement and the Contractors Plant Hire Association (“CPHA”) produces such a document for use by its members. In reality, whilst there is generally some documentation relating to each hire, this does not necessarily comprise a consistent sequence along the lines of order, acknowledgement and invoice, all making reference to one and the same set of terms and conditions (or to any conditions at all).

If there is no specific reference to CPHA conditions, then enquiries must be made to establish whether CPHA conditions had been discussed verbally and agreed by the parties before the relevant paperwork was issued. The trading history of the parties is also relevant. There may, for example, be a Term Agreement in place with a particular supplier which sets out the Terms & Conditions under which all plant will be hired. Alternatively, there may be an unwritten understanding between the parties to the same effect. Plant is frequently hired by cell phone, either from the contract site or from your centrally based Ready Mix orders Department. In the latter case, there is likely to be more consistency over agreed Terms & Conditions and better paperwork, but, it is all too common for plant to be hired at short notice and in a hurry, particularly from site, when cost and availability are the overriding concerns and there is unlikely to be any consideration given by the hirer to other aspects. Does the fact that your site agent or foreman who ordered a Digger loader late on a Friday afternoon, at an agreed rate of R300.00 per hour plus diesel, with transport of R1000.00 each way, mean that you have no obligations other than to pay for the hire of the machine? Even at common law, there are liabilities upon those who hire plant, as they will be deemed to be bailees and therefore obliged to take reasonable care of the goods and return them to the supplier at the end of the hire period.


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