Case Studies

Architect’s Duties when Taking Over a Project

2 houses were demolished and a block of 11 flats built. The new building was condemned as unauthorised development because it was not built in accordance with the approved design. The landowner alleges this was caused by the architect’s negligent development of the design. The architect denies any obligation to the landowner.

Are Experts’ Joint Statements Privileged?

Legal professional privilege is a right to maintain confidences between parties. When a document is protected by privilege, it means that it does not need to be disclosed. In the context of litigation and retaining expert witnesses, privilege will apply to confidential oral or written communications between the client and his legal advisers and the expert for the dominant purpose of obtaining or receiving advice for the purpose of existing or anticipated legal proceedings. ‘Dominant’ in this context means the ruling or prevailing purpose. The purpose or intended use for which a document is brought into existence will be a question of fact.”

Building Insurance & Regulation

Insurance Policies Must Comply with the Governing Law.Under English law, the principle that a contract must not contain agreements which are contrary to law applies equally to a contract of insurance. This can cause insurers to have to pay out very much larger sums than they anticipated:

Burgess v Lejonvarn – Architect Vindicated but at What Cost?

Proportionality, expert evidence & indemnity costs award.

Defects in Design - Time at Large

Responsibility for Delays. Difficulty arises where responsibility for delay is unclear and where appropriate contractual mechanisms fail or are not used correctly. If this occurs or if a contract does not provide for adjusting the completion date where rectifying defects impedes progress, time may become "at large". “Time at large” is a common law principle where a fixed contractual completion date is rendered ineffective. Multiple Causes of Delay and Disruption.

Design Coordination

Reflecting on the Grenfell enquiry, who leads the design team and takes responsibility for design coordination and integration when design and build procurement is used?

Displaced Cladding

Novel design with unforeseen consequences

Exploding Substation

Strict liability for nuisance to neighbours following Rylands v Fletcher?

Lawfull Insurance

Under English law, the principle that a contract must not contain agreements which are contrary to law applies equally to a contract of insurance. This can cause insurers to have to pay out very much larger sums than they anticipated:

Lead Roof Corrosion

A recent investigation revealed an oversight in roof design. The construction under investigation had wide lead gutters behind masonry parapets. These gutter formed part of the roof and are in effect cold decks over thick thermal insulation. Other parts of the roof were provided with interstitial ventilation following current guidance. The gutters were not.

Limitation of Design Liability

Practical completion's relevance to the statute of limitations & flawed design resolved in arbitration by a negotiated settlement

Pay Less Notice or Withholding Notice

The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 & Housing Grants, Construction and Redevelopment Act 1996

Professional negligence in tort

From Donoghue and Stevenson to Burgesses and Lejonvarn. Creating a landmark at a snail's pace

Spanish Building Defects

A residents’ committee who represented the occupants of 22 high-rise blocks of shared-ownership, ‘low-cost’ housing built on land reclaimed from the Mediterranean, looked to expertise to help them resolve problems in their new flats. Concern over the building’s performance started when it began to disrobe. At first it flung pieces of the clay lattice balcony screens from the 10 to 12 story towers onto the walkways and gardens on the podium deck. These were later joined by brick slips springing loose from floor edges. Lower down, parts of the soffit of the podium deck began falling onto the residents’ parked cars.

The Effect of Building Control Completion Certificates

A building was being converted into a bar, restaurant, conference facilities and hotel apartments. Before the works were completed, completion certificates under the building regulations and practical completion certificates under the building contract were issued prematurely for parts of the works. Taken in by the certificates issued, investors released funds without inspecting the works.

What Expertise will the New Homes Ombudsman Require?

The function of a New Homes Ombudsman. Defects experienced in new build houses. The Defective Premises Act. Rising expectations and complaints