Even the biggest and best professional firms make mistakes sometimes, and when they do, their clients are entitled to be compensated for any losses they suffer as a result, as is illustrated by a recently reported negligence case involving a highly regarded firm of architects, Foster & Partners.
Fosters are internationally acclaimed architects. They have designed many well known buildings, including ‘The Gherkin’ and the Millennium Bridge in London and the restored Reichstag in Berlin.
Entrepreneur John Dhanoa instructed Fosters in 2007 to design a 5 star hotel near Heathrow Airport. He told them he wanted it to be built in time for the London 2012 Olympics.
Mr Dhanoa’s case was that he told Fosters his budget for the project was £70 million. Fosters denied there was any budget.
The scheme designed by Fosters in 2008 (pictured above) would have cost £195 million to build according to specialist cost consultants brought in by Mr Dhanoa.
Fosters told him that the project could be “value engineered” down to £100 million. Encouraged by this assurance, Mr Dhanoa pressed ahead with this plans for two more years until two different experts advised him that the project could not possibly be value engineered downwards to as low a figure as £100 million.
In 2011 he was forced to abandon the scheme which Fosters had designed, after he was unable to obtain funding for it.
The court found that had Fosters designed a hotel costing £100 million to build, it would not have in fact been built because Mr Dhanoa probably would have been unable to raise the necessary funding, which had become more difficult to come by following the ‘credit crunch’.
It accepted however that he still intended to build a hotel at the site, even though plans to do so had progressed very little by the time of the trial in October 2017, and therefore awarded him compensation of £3.6 million in respect of project costs he would be incurring for a second time, such as the fees of his new architects.
If you are concerned about the performance of an architect and would like advice or to have an informal chat, please contact Patrick McGowan on 0121 270 5654 or at email@example.com
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