Professional Negligence

Claims against Architects

If you have engaged an architect to commence a project at your home or business, the building work is likely to be substantial and you may have had to relocate while it was carried out. Any failings by your architect can lead to disastrous consequences for your project such as delay, disruption and financial loss.

Your architect must perform its services with reasonable care and skill. The standard that is required is that of an ordinary skilled person of the same profession. If your architect fell below this standard and in doing so caused you to suffer loss, we can discuss with you whether you might have a claim in negligence.

Do I have a claim against my architect?

If you have engaged an architect, it is likely that he will owe you a ‘duty of care’. The duty can arise because of the contract you have with your architect but it can also arise even if you do not have a written contract.

The contract with your architect will set out what your architect’s responsibilities are,  often the contract will include the Royal Institute of British Architects Conditions of Engagement.  We can advise you on what actions your architect should have taken under the terms of your contract.

We can also advise you on whether your architect breached its duty. Common examples of architect’s negligence can include situations where an architect:

  • Made errors in drawings;
  • Failed to get the appropriate planning permissions or failed to comply with planning regulations;
  • Failed to adhere to a safe specification and used sub-standard building materials;
  • Mismanaged the project costs and contractors;
  • Carried out the project with insufficient supervision;
  • Failed to advise appropriately in relation to drawings and plans;
  • Committed health and safety breaches

In addition, if your architect sub-contracted work to a third party, such as a builder, but didn’t monitor this work properly, the architect could still be liable to you for that third party’s actions. In some instances it may be better to pursue the architect as they will have professional indemnity insurance.

We can look at the instructions or brief given by you to your architect together with the budget and timetable to assess whether your architect has breached the duty of care owed to you.

What is my claim worth?

If your architect’s negligent actions have caused you a loss, we can help you recover financial compensation that will put you in the position you would have been in if your architect had not been negligent. The loss to you may range from extra payments to contractors because of delay, putting errors right or additional rental payments you have had to make due to the delay whist living in a separate property. We can tell you what your claim is likely to be worth. Your losses would normally be covered by your architect’s professional indemnity insurance policy.

What is the procedure?

If we think that you have a claim against your architect, the first step is to write, setting out the legal basis for your claim and a summary of your loss. Claims in negligence against architects can be complex and we may need to get a professional expert opinion of your architect’s failings in order to set out your claim. The architect will either accept your claim or send a ‘letter of response’, indicating whether they intend to defend the claim and on what basis. We find that most claims settle before a claim is issued at Court and most cases do not reach Court. If a resolution is not possible, we can discuss issuing a claim with you.

How much will it cost?

We are experienced at effectively managing the costs of pursuing or defending a professional negligence claim and we are able to act on a variety of different funding arrangements in order to help you pursue or defend your claim in the most effective and efficient way. At the outset, we will discuss with you the available funding options to ensure you are provided with the most suitable arrangement for your circumstances.

What should I do next?

Bolt Burdon has a specialist team dedicated to professional negligence. We regularly take instructions from clients with concerns about their professional advisers. You may not even fully know at this stage whether your architect has been negligent and we can help you determine this, discuss what options are available for you and what steps you should take next.

Our Professional Negligence Team

Natasha McKeever
I am a Partner and head of the Disputed Wills and Trusts Team. Read More
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