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Jamie-Law
Jamie-Law, Solicitor
Category: UK Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 1291
Experience:  Solicitor
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I found an Architect who was advertising in the local paper

Customer Question

Hi
I found an Architect who was advertising in the local paper in Aug/sept 2010, I requested a set of plans for a hip-to-gable loft conversion from him.I informed him I was a first time self builder, with some questions that I would like answered as the project proceeded.
He submitted plans showing 48 cu sq mt enlargement of roof space
(50 cu sq mts is Permitted Development allowance).
Councils 'Delegated Report' (as part of the Lawful Development Certificate of Nov. 2010) calculated a roof enlargement of only 40.9 cu sq mts - a big difference.
As well as Councils above document, I had replies to forum posts to help verify that my Architect's calculations were wrong.I also argue he designed the rear dormer incorrectly after requesting the flank wall come up flush (he inset this - as a way of what he thought keeping within 50cu sq mts - which would have been acceptable - had he calculated correctly),
I also argue he did not design in a hall window in the flank wall or the pitched roof, after requesting these, in fact he berated me for asking, saying I either didn't need it, or permission would not be granted - which was blatantly incorrect.In hindsight I feel he lacked experience of working on projects in the Barnet Council area, but if that is so why was he advertising in my local paper?Developments at 2 houses in the same street as my property back my argument that he designed the Dormer incorrectly, both have flush flank walls, windows in the flank, and pitched roof.Once the plans had been delivered, and after 2 or 3 phone calls from me to ask some questions he was very rude to me - and in fact sent me an email stating he would not entertain any more phone calls or emails from me, which I didn't expect. He also threatened to write to my neighbour and the council regarding my decision to use reclaimed steel beams, after a steel merchant called his number on the plans by mistake.After a great deal of time and effort, I decided to go study and build off plan, but as a result the finished roof volume is now 2mt over the allowed Permitted development of 50 cu sq mts.
I paid him £1100, of which £300 went to a Structural Engineer ( I only have verbal confirmation of the £300 figure, although have quotes from another struct .eng who quoted £250), so of the £1100 spent I would want to claim £800.00 from him.
The dormer was subsequently built larger (to Building Regs. and passed by Building Control), not to his plans as they gave insufficient head height to comply with Building Regs for one thing, along with a few other issues.After he did the plans for me it transpired that he was not a qualified Architect and must have conned other people by advertising his services as such, i was asked to appear on 'Fake Britain' last year - which I gladly did.
His conviction for misuse of the term 'Architect' by the Architect's Registration Board, was appealed in Aug 2010, but upheld by the court.
If i start the process to take him to court now ... as he passed himself off as an Architect (but not qualified), I am concerned that he may complain to the Council if he finds my development is not lawful. After he had produced his plans he turned nasty, abusive and threatening when his calculations were questioned and refused to deal with me any further. Could he maliciously scupper the development?
Is it possible to extend the period to take someone to court over the 6 years cut-off?
thanks
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: UK Property Law
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.

Just to be clear, what you are saying is that it is fraud? He passed off when not qualified?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi Jamie
yes he passed himself off as an Architect for which he was prosecuted.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
1. If i start the process to take him to court now ... as he passed himself off as an Architect (but not qualified), I am concerned that he may complain to the Council if he finds my development is not lawful. After he had produced his plans he turned nasty, abusive and threatening when his calculations were questioned and refused to deal with me any further. Could he maliciously scupper the development?
2. Is it possible to extend the period to take someone to court over the 6 years cut-off, as we are reaching that point very soon?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund and compensation within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.
If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n1-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.
The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.
If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Is it possible to extend the period to take someone to court over the 6 years cut-off?
It will take 1 more year for the 4 year period to be elapsed before we can put in to the council as a lawful development, BUT before the end of September it will be 6 years since he was paid, therefore the time for him to be prosecuted lapses.... can you confirm this is the case please? Can we take out proceedings against him beyond 6 years?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

Potentially yes from you plead fraud. As there is no time limit with fraud.

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** clarify:-
1. in this case is it fraud?
2. If i start the process to take him to court now ... as he passed himself off as an Architect (but not qualified), I am concerned that he may complain to the Council if he finds my development is not lawful. After he had produced his plans he turned nasty, abusive and threatening when his calculations were questioned and refused to deal with me any further. Could he maliciously scupper the development by contacting the council?thanks
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
3. Can fraud be processed in the small claims court?thanks
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

1. It could be fraud yes. It sounds like it, but I have not seen all the evidence.

2. That is a risk you take

3. No it wont be a small claim as that limit is £10,000 and you cant plead fraud as a small claim

Does that clarify?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
1. He has already been prosecuted by the governing body for falsely advertising himself as being an Architect. So would we assume so?
3. The claim is for less than £1,000, just the amount he billed for his services as an Architect. Is that not contestable in Small Claims?
Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

Oh yes. if its £1000 then it will be a small claim.

You need to write and set out your losses and request a refund within 14 days or say you will go to Court within 14 days. You should make sure you send this signed delivery and keep a copy.

If they do not refund you then you can issue proceedings in the County Court. You can either do this online at: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk or by completing form N1 http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/hmctsformfinder/n1-eng.pdf and take it to your local County Court.

The Court will then issue a claim which a copy will be sent to the Defendant who will have a limited time to defend it, if not you can enter Judgment and enforce.

If the claim is for £10,000 or less it will be a small claim so you will not need legal representation. Over this value you would need representation for trial.

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Expert:  Jamie-Law replied 2 months ago.

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