A company (Blue) which supplies building materials supplies a number of local building contractors. They clearly state in all their contracts that the building materials which they supply remain their property until paid for in full, with a right to reclaim the goods if the building contractor fails to pay for them within the stipulated time. They have supplied the goods set out below to some contractors and want to know if they will be able to claim the return of the goods if they are not paid.
Advise them, with reference to case law, as to whether any of these items may be removed and returned to them, in the event of non-payment:
Blue 50 000 bricks to Mpho Manana for use in the construction of a house. Construction of the house has not yet begun and all of the bricks are stacked up on the site.
Blue also supplied 40 wooden trusses to Joe Martin for use in the construction of a factory. The factory has been completed and the roof trusses have been placed in position and covered with plastic and tiles. The roof can be dismantled without causing damage to the trusses or the factory.
Blue supplied 50 aluminium window frames to Kate Price for use in the renovation of a block of flats. The block of flats has been renovated and the windows have been screwed to the walls of the building and stuck in place with strong epoxy resin glue. The windows can only be removed by damaging them.
A discussion of the law that relates to the transfer of movables as discussed in the facts above and the impact of original acquisition through accession; the requirements indicating permanency; and an application of the law and legal precedent to each of the contracts identified above.
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