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Expert Witness:


Expert Witness: Mr & Mrs Jacobs vs Crammond Brown Architects.

Client: Cayton & Co, Solicitors, London.

We were instructed by Messrs Cayton & Co, Solicitors, on behalf of Crammond Browne Architects Limited, the Defendants to this action, in preparation of a Report upon allegations made concerning the services provided by the Architects upon this project.

The primary allegations concerned the roof, and in particular allegations that the architect failed to ensure the rooflights were correctly designed and installed, resulting in water penetration to the interior. There were numerous additional allegations relating to drainage, thermal insulation, paintwork and the installation of the boiler flue, and associated damage to internal fixtures, fittings and decoration.

As is evident from the illustrations below the standard of workmanship produced by the Contractor was inadequate and the pitch of the roof was at the absolute minimum for the selected roof covering. Unfortunately the architect failed, when inspecting the Works, to detect the poor workmanship and, in consequence, water penetrated the roof to the interior. Ad-hoc repairs were both unsightly and ineffective and, unfortunately, the Contractor went into liquidation.  The dispute was further compounded by an inadequacy of drawings, records and other documents, and by uncertainty about who had undertaken certain remedial works, and the timing of those works.

At trial, where we gave evidence in the Technology & Construction Court on behalf of the defendant, the Court found the architect had been negligent in designing and inspecting the Works and awarded damages, and costs to the Claimants. The claimed cost of the alleged remedial works was some £28,000. The eventual award, with Claimants costs exceeded £150,000!  To which, of course, had to be added the Defence’s costs for a three day trial.

This project is a perfect illustration of why rooflights should not be installed in roofs generally, and certainly not in roofs laid at a minimal pitch.  If Clients insist upon such an installation, architects are well advised to notify their Clients in writing of the risks and then exercise extreme caution in designing and detailing.  Then inspect vigorously!

Below: photographs of the Garden Room, the shallow roof pitch and rooflights, and the inadequate standard of workmanship.


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