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Civil Engineer made a $150,000 mistake

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by drfuzzy, 28th Dec, 2016.

  1. drfuzzy

    drfuzzy Active Member

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    Australia
    I'm building a small development with a shared basement for 2 units.

    I have a fixed price ABIC contract with the builder which includes construction of a basement.

    I have a building permit and construction had commenced its first small stage.

    The builder wanted the engineer to clarify a few issues - mostly around head room in the basement. The engineering firm has since realised they have made a mistake and the design cannot be constructed. Instead, they have come back with a new design that has more steel, more concrete and is a lot more complex.

    The builder's subcontractors now want an extra $150,000 to cover the variation!

    What is my legal position on this against the engineer? I've paid a 5 figure sum to the engineer for the dodgy drawings already. I wouldn't have proceeded with the project had I known the original design was incorrect.
     
  2. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Without an independent review of the revised design and sanity check for buildability of both options it would be difficult to provide meaningful guidance.

    Has the redesign rendered the building unviable or would you have proceeded regardless?

    You.may need to engage a QS and a specialist construction solicitor for an answer.

    Would a claim on the engineer's professional indemnity insurance be warranted?
     
    KayTea likes this.
  3. Owlet

    Owlet Well-Known Member

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    We had an Architect make an error - he didn't measure the available yard space correctly - therefor designed us an extension (2 storey) that couldn't fit the space. We were advised by relevant bodies at the time that even though the drawings were wrong (we couldn't have the extension we thought we were getting) that we still needed to pay for the work done to date. We couldn't not pay and walk away.They did re-do they drawings at their expense with a new single story design.. Fortunately I picked up the error before the builder started - I would hate to have seen the pickle we'd be in if the builder had started. I would assume the architect would have insurance for that sort of thing.
     
  4. drfuzzy

    drfuzzy Active Member

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    Independant by another engineer? The original engineering cost over $10,000. How much would this cost?

    Had the fixed price building contract been +150k I would have sold the land and not proceeded with the development as this would have rendered the profit too small.

    This is obviously a last resort so I am trying to learn as much as I can first.

    That is the question I am asking with this thread. If the answer is yes, then what is the procedure involved and threshold for a claim to be successful?
     
  5. Scott No Mates

    Scott No Mates Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you need a construction lawyer to advise you what you can do, how to terminate/pause the construction contract and laim against the engineer.

    At present you have a hole in the ground which is worth less than your initial block.
     
  6. snoopy

    snoopy Active Member

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    Location:
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    Hi - I suggest you discuss the impact of the changes with the engineer. There are 2 sides to the story and I am guessing you have only heard the builders side of the story so far.