Successful architect negligence claim
We receive a regular number of architect negligence claim enquiries from people who have lost out as a result of mistakes made by their architect.
In this recent case our client wanted to invest in some property, either as a buy-to-let or to flip it. However, he saw advertised a piece of land coming up for auction which had planning permission to build a two bedroom property on it. The planning permission was very clear on what would be required, setting out what rooms each floor had to have. It was very clear that no further enlargement or alteration to the proposed property or the height of its roof could be undertaken without seeking further permission from the local authority.
As this was a new venture, our client contacted an architect, and asked for his opinion. He gave the architect a copy of the planning permission. The architect assured him that he had suitable experience of similar projects and knew what he could “get away with”. He immediately suggested that a third bedroom could be put in the loft, thereby increasing the value of the house. He prepared the necessary plans and lodged them with the local authority; not with the planning department, but with building control to confirm that the build would comply with building regulations. It passed.
Our client therefore built the property according to the new plans. Just before the roof was on though, a Planning Officer came to inspect the property and our client was informed that he was in breach of planning consent. He had to strip the building back down to the first floor and erect it in accordance with the original planning consent at considerable additional cost.
At first, the architect denied that he’d made a mistake. He initially claimed that he had not seen the planning permission and then that it was not his responsibility to check the terms of the consent. Later, he argued that he had not been employed by our client so there was no contractual relationship. Despite raising all these points the architect ultimately conceded that he’d made an error and was legally at fault.
We therefore succeed in recovering compensation for our client.