Last edited 11 Oct 2016

Architects liability

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Contents

[edit] Sources of liability

An architect may be liable to their client for:

The question of professional liability can be approached under the following headings:

  • A minimum standard of reasonable skill and care is to be exercised in the discharge of professional duties carried out under the contract.
  • A higher duty to achieve particular results, comparable with the duty generally placed upon a builder, may be contracted for.
  • Duties under the law of tort to third parties may also be owed to a client concurrent with a contractual duty.
  • A more specialist duty may be owed in tort when giving advice whether to a client or to a third party.
  • Additional duties may be imposed by statutes.

[edit] Contractual duty of care

  • An architect has a duty to use reasonable skill and care in the course of employment.
  • An architect will be tested against the conduct of other architects.
  • The courts recognise that failure is not conclusive evidence of breach of duty: ‘The surgeon does not warrant that he will cure the patient, nor does the solicitor warrant that he will win the case’

[edit] Contractual duty of result

[edit] Duties in tort to clients and third parties

Murphy v Brentwood District Council 1990

Hedley Byrne & Co Ltd v Heller & Partners Ltd

  • The professional may owe a duty when giving advice to avoid causing economic loss to third parties who rely upon that advice

[edit] Liability for breach of contract

The architect’s obligations are both express and implied:

[edit] Express terms

  • Incorporated by the use of standard forms of appointment.
  • Made orally or in correspondence.

[edit] Implied terms

[edit] Breach of contract

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki