limerick girl wrote:Hi, we have purchased a cottage and hope to renovate it, as we knew the design we wanted for the cottage we asked an engineer to do the plans for us, now I know it can be difficult at times to contact some people in the building trade but we found it impossible to contact him! this situation is going on since Feb.
He did come to a preplanning meeting with us and showed us the plan of the proposed extension which we were delighted with and then told us he was putting our ad in the newspaper, He gave us a site notice which we put up. This was 10 weeks ago, after a month of trying to contact him after seeing the ad, we contacted the planning office and there was never any planning application made. Due to this and the fact he was uncontactable we decided to change to another engineer, my husband tried unsuccessfully to contact and meet him at his office so ended up leaving a voice message, detailing that we did not want to avail of his services but that we would pay him for the plans. We waited to hear from him to arrange a fee but heard nothing,
6 weeks later our new engineer placed an ad in the paper and then we were contacted by the previous engineer, who is saying he never received the message. I find this hard to believe as it was left on the mobile phone that he contacted us from! He now says we have to take him back as our engineer or change the design of our future home as he has copyright on it. He has refused money for the plans. Has anyone any ideas? We are thinking of modifying the design but can he still cause problems at planning, he has set the project back almost 3 months already. What should we do? We are 1st time builders and we are stuck! Please help?
This sounds like a very poor level of service but if he's threatening legal action you may need a solicitor on board.
The engineer appears to have provided drafting services, and only a limited design service and did not perform the planning service you understood according to your account and you have offered to pay him for the plans and his attendances at the pre-planning meeting
Since the lodgement was supposed to be done by him and he was fully in control of it, and failed to do so, he may have no comeback on the newspaper advertisement cost or the site notice cost. Why would you pay him for work which he controlled which he did not complete and in relation to which he failed to communicate? You could offer a nominal amount to help him take the decision to leave you alone
Your solicitor may advise you [or you may decide] to send a cheque to him by registered post regardless with a covering letter confirming all the things he did in an itemised list, as well as all the things he didn't do, stating the payment offer is in full and final settlement of the amount owed. He may not accept this but he may.
Either way you are not obliged to use him and he may find it difficult to claim breach of copyright when you have paid him for the work to date.
I cannot comment on the fee you expect to pay him, but your new engineer should set him straight on the poor service he has provided and you could confirm you will report him to his institute if he doesnt' accept fair payment for poor service and leave you get on with your new engineer.
Otherwise +1 what Tayto has said.
In relation to what PVC King has said, people sending you PMs offering to do the work without you specifically asking them to do this may be considered Spammers and this may affect their posting rights on some boards - not sure about here, but its a ban on boards.ie and askaboutmoney.com.
In other words, write a post here requesting PM's from architects reading this thread.
Also + 1 in relation to PVC King's comments, you make the offer of full and final payment dependent on him handing over the digital drawings to you - assuming a planning set exists, since he has not lodged such.
He should accompany this with a letter stating that his successor has free and unfetted license to use his work in relation to your house on this specific site but not for any other work elsewhere - this is a standard form of wording I use when accepting drawings from other offices for follow on work and I request others to state this to me if I give them drawings.
Also while a local architect might be a good bet, don't limit yourself to the locality - most archtiects have transport or can take a bus or train.
Check out a few office's designs and see what they are capable of for similar kinds of work before deciding - its your money and your home.
All advice given here is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.