Damages of £3.6m awarded against ‘negligent’ architects
Published: 15 November 2017
A developer has been awarded £3.6m damages from a firm of architects in a professional negligence case.
The developer had engaged the architects on a major hotel
project. No budget was specified in the contract, but the developer claimed to
have told the firm that it was £70m.
However, the architects produced a scheme costed at £195m.
The developer said he then increased the budget to £100m after the architects
assured him that the scheme could be "value engineered" down to that
That proved to be impossible and the developer was unable to
obtain funding for the scheme. He sought repayment of £4m expended in
The High Court found in his favour. It said the architects
had embarked upon the design project with no consideration for the budget and
had therefore failed to perform the contract, which amounted to a breach of
They had then advised that value engineering could reduce
the cost of the scheme to £100m. On the expert evidence, that advice was
negligent. As they had specifically advised the developer that value
engineering would result in a reduction in the cost of the scheme, it was
entirely reasonable for him to have continued to incur professional fees in
reliance on that advice.
Those fees of £3,604,694 were therefore recoverable as
damages for breach of contract.
Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution
Team if you would like more advice about the issues raised in this article or
any aspect of professional negligence claims.