Architect negligence

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Making an architect negligence claim

Undertaking extensive building work is not for the faint hearted.  How do you go about designing it?  Will the works comply with building regulations?  Or planning requirements?  Will it come in under budget? These are just some of the questions that will need to be considered, and in order to avoid any costly mistake  you will need some expert advice; which is where the architect comes in.

What does the architect do?

An architect is there to guide you through the process.  They should be there listening to what you want, the purpose of the building, the design and, importantly, your budget.  They should then prepare their design, ensuring that the proposed building is fit for purpose, uses appropriate materials and complies with all legal (building and planning) requirements.

What can go wrong?

Unfortunately, problems can arise when an architect is retained.  Some examples include:

Design flaws

  • the design doesn’t comply with building regulations;
  • inadequate foundations or load bearing causing the building to lean or even fail;
  • a failure to realise the existence of on-site conditions such as a basement making the project more costly;
  • an inappropriate design, unsuitable for your needs; and
  • a failure to use appropriate materials

Budget flaws

  • failing to ascertain your budget;
  • designing something that is outside of your budget; and
  • failing to give appropriate instructions to the builder.

Contract flaws

  • failure to oversee the correct tendering process;
  • failure to notice or report on defects;
  • failure to comply with the timetable;
  • allowing an overrun on costs; and
  • negligently issuing Interim or Final Certificates.

Can the architect be held legally liable?

Yes – and they can be liable in both the law of contract and in the law of negligence.

Under the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982 or, for more recent contracts, the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the architect must act with reasonable skill and care – which is the same standard used in negligence.  If it can be shown that the architect did not “exercise the ordinary skill of an ordinary competent man exercising that particular art”, then he can be found in breach of contract and/or negligent.

How we can help with your architect negligence claim

Our specialist professional negligence team are hugely experienced in dealing with architect negligence claims. Where the negligence has resulted in financial losses that comfortably exceed £10,000 then we will be happy to assess the case free of charge and let you know if we are able to work on a No Win, No Fee basis.

For specialist advice on architect negligence, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0808 139 1606.  Alternatively, email us at [email protected].