A Limerick couple have successfully defended a breach of contract claim by an award winning Architect with the help of Keating Connolly Sellors solicitors. Mr. and Mrs C instructed the high profile architect to construct a modern extension and refurbish their 1960’s home. They entered into what they thought was a fixed fee arrangement for the provision of architectural services. Mr and Mrs C agreed a detailed design with their architect and plans and drawings were sent out to tender. Unfortunately, the tenders came in significantly over budget and Mr and Mrs C had to disengage the services of the architect in accordance with their retainer agreement. The architect sued for breach of contract and relied on provisions 6 and 10 of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland Association (“RIAI”) Standard Form Agreement between Architect and Client for Domestic Work 2007, which provide that the architect’s estimate of costs is to be recalculated based on the lowest tender received. In addition, the RIAI Agreement allowed the architect to claim a termination payout for loss of future work. This figure was significantly more than was provided for in the original fee agreement signed by Mr and Mrs C.

Ronan Hynes, Litigation Partner, represented Mr and Mrs C at Trial. On hearing the evidence, Judge Alan Mitchell was unconvinced about the extent of the architects claim and invited both parties to consider their respective positions during a short adjournment. The case ultimately settled out of Court on favourable terms for Sellors’ clients.

Ronan Hynes commented on the settlement that: “I am very pleased that we were able to secure what was ultimately a very positive outcome for Mr and Mrs C. They have had a very difficult 24 months as the build is still not complete. The Judge was highly critical of the onerous obligations contained in the RIAI Agreement and recommended that independent legal advice be received before signing such retainer agreements in the future”.

 

RONAN HYNES

Partner

Litigation & Dispute Resolution

Keating Connolly Sellors

May 2015

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