Is wall and ceiling plaster ‘structural’

The structure of a building consists of those elements which give it its essential appearance, stability and shape. Wall and ceiling plaster are structural. They are part of the wall or ceiling and not a finish applied to them.

In Grand v Gill ([2011] EWCA Civ 554, CA (Eng)) plaster on the internal walls of a flat had been damaged. The landlord was liable to repair the structure. The question was whether the wall plaster formed part of the structure. The English Court of Appeal adopted the definition of ‘structure’ given by Mr Recorder Thayne Forbes QC in Irvine v Moran ((1992) 24 HLR 1): structure comprises ‘those elements of the overall dwelling house which give it its appearance, stability and shape’. In the present case, the Court of Appeal held that plasterwork provides a ‘smooth constructional finish to walls and ceilings.’ It is part of the wall or ceiling and not merely decoration added to it.

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