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Design Late & Incomplete

Client: Privately owned property development company
Situation:  The case concerned delayed completion and increased costs in the construction of two mixed use buildings, involving employer’s claims against various consultants, with allegations of late, incomplete and defective design information (including issues of buildability); disputes over the scope of the architect’s services; non-payment of the architect’s fees; and claims about incorrect advice on procurement.  Probyn Miers was appointed to provide an opinion on standards of architectural design, workmanship and contract administration.
Action: Probyn Miers issued reports during litigation on subjects as instructed by the client’s solicitors.
Result: Probyn Miers provided an expert opinion on the matters in dispute.


Client: Local authority
Situation:  This case concerned delayed completion and increased costs in the refurbishment and extension of a local authority leisure centre, involving employer’s claims against the architect (for alleged late and incomplete design information) and against the contractor, including disagreement over the scope of services to be provided by the architect and about the standard of the lead consultant’s advice on procurement and buildability.
Action: Probyn Miers was required to provide an opinion on the scope of the architect’s services, and the standards achieved in design, workmanship and contract administration.
Result: Probyn Miers provided an expert opinion on the matters in dispute.


Client: Multi-national construction consortium
Situation:  This case concerned a claim for non-payment of fees for the design and administration of employer’s variations in the construction of a major transport infrastructure project, involving disputes over the standard and timeliness of the design information provided.  Probyn Miers  opinion was required on whether the architectural design work met the standard required by the contract and on whether the fees claimed for variations were reasonable.
Action: Probyn Miers provided opinions and advice.
Result: Probyn Miers provided an expert opinion on the matters in dispute .


Client: Solicitors for the architect’s insurer
Situation: The owner of a detached house in north London retained an architect to design a full remodelling of the house’s rear and interior, including the construction of a basement swimming pool to extend beneath the rear garden.  The owner considered that the architect’s progress towards producing tender information was unacceptably slow and that the resulting design had serious deficiencies.  The owner finally dismissed the architect and retained another one to revise and complete the design for tendering.  The owner claimed against the previous architect for the fees thus allegedly wasted and for loss of property revenue allegedly caused by the delay.
Action: Probyn Miers examined the primary documents and drawings, and made an objective review of the performance and design of the original architect.
Result: Probyn Miers produced a preliminary analysis which found that, whilst there were some deficiencies in the architect’s performance, these were largely linked with the acts and omissions of the owner’s other retained professionals, and with external circumstances such as difficulties with the local planning authority.  Probyn Miers report also found that the claimant’s basis for quantifying the claim was unrealistically conceived and merited substantial reduction.  This analysis helped the instructing solicitor and architect’s insurer to assess what a reasonable offer of settlement might be.


Client: Solicitor for house owner, defending a claim from builder for unpaid invoices. 

The client purchased a large detached country house in need of substantial renovation.  Understandably, the architect’s first move was to get the building envelope weathertight.  It was logical to keep out the rain and let the building dry before proceeding with any internal works.  The architect obtained just one tender and let a JCT Minor Works Building Contract worth £180,000. 

Subsequently the architect began to instruct the contractor to carry out refurbishment works not in the scope of the re-roofing works.  As prices for parts of the work came in, the overall cost escalated beyond the total cost anticipated and beyond the client’s budget.  The initial Minor Works re-roofing contract was progressively enlarged for the internal refurbishment to a total value of almost £1.3m, 7 times its original value. 

An early start on site by no means guarantees early completion.  The construction period lasted 2 years and 3 months. 

Action: Probyn Miers was appointed to give expert opinion on the architect’s performance as contract administrator, the architect’s inspections, forms of contract adopted, responsibility of contractor / architect / client for delay, cost of remedial works and other specific issues defined by the instructing solicitor.
Result: The dispute was settled at mediation. 


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