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Botched DA - can the architects be held responsible?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by Richard Sterling, 7th Dec, 2016.

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  1. Richard Sterling

    Richard Sterling Member

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    About 5 years ago I purchased a block of land that could be DA approved for 4 townhouses. I hired an architect and additional consultants on this recommendation (arborist, traffic engineer etc). Pre-DA determined that his concept plan was unsupported, but he recommended that we push on. Months later he finished the DA drawings and submitted but council said changes were required as many controls were not met. I kept saying "just change the plans so they are compliant and we can get the DA approved". A few more months to make changes and resubmit but again not compliant. Council said they will wait for one more set of plans. A few more months and they submit plans again. Again non compliant. They admit that someone in their office "made a mistake" and shouldn't have submitted those plans. Council are fed up and reject the DA. Whole process has taken 12 months and I am about $80k out of pocket.

    Eventually I got my DA through another firm, but had to sell the block and cut my losses as the holding costs became too much.

    It's been 5 years to get back to where I was, but I wonder if the initial architects had a duty of care or at least be held responsible in some way? Is this what PI insurance is for? Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated.
     
  2. thatbum

    thatbum Well-Known Member

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    Why have you waited 5 years to act on it?
     
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  3. Richard Sterling

    Richard Sterling Member

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    At the time I didn't have the energy to do anything about it. I'd reached a limit and just wanted to move forward, plus I didn't know where to get advice or throw any more good money at it.

    I think about it often though and it just doesn't seem fair.
     
  4. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    I do not know, but if they could not comply with the first plan, then they probably have no idea.

    There are a bunch of amateurs that used to be doing plans, basically they just had plans from other builds or downloaded and would just offer them up to people, they are not legit, maybe you got one of them.
     
  5. Richard Sterling

    Richard Sterling Member

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    Unfortunately this is a relatively well known architectural company, their website days established 1984, registered, 10 staff, member of Australian Institute of Architects. Many of the meetings were with the principal present.
     
  6. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Well, they are likely to have insurance, not sure what court you would go too, if it was small claims local court, maybe, if supreme court, your going to have ti stump up some cash & maybe kiss it goodbye along with the agro.

    IANAL but would say if you can settle between yourselves would be much better.
     
  7. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Yes, possibly negligence and a breach of contract.
     
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  8. Richard Sterling

    Richard Sterling Member

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    Hmm so is there a time limit? And if not, who can I approach to assist?
     
  9. Terry_w

    Terry_w Solicitor, Finance Broker, CTA Business Member

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    Yes - limitations act would mean you only have limited time - possibly 6 years.

    See a lawyer.
     
  10. wombat777

    wombat777 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I imagine litigation would not be cheap. The cost of litigation might be more than the money you lost?

    A litigation would also be a fairly stressful process.

    If I was in the situation I would just cut my loses and move on.
     
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  11. dabbler

    dabbler Well-Known Member

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    Maybe call fair trading too, see what they have to say.
     
  12. Richard Sterling

    Richard Sterling Member

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    Ok so basically i am going to let it go. The stress and additional litigation cost without guaranteed outcome just isn't worth it i guess.
     
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