By Act or Omission:
a contractual obligation
‘We’re extending!…you’re an Architect, you’ll do a few doodles for us won’t you?’. It’s the question many architects are asked by friends and the same question many dread, and for good reason. The closely followed Burgess v Lejonvarn trilogy recently culminated in a decision from the Technology and Construction Court1 which will no doubt spark caution in any one undertaking gratuitous work for friends or family.
The Burgesses and Mrs Lejonvarn were friends and former neighbours. Lejonvarn had provided architectural services to Mr Burgess’ firm through her previous employer and her own practice. The Burgesses had ambitious plans for their steeply sloped garden in Highgate and a landscape designer prepared a design which was costed around £150k. This was too high for the Burgesses and architect/project manager-friend Lejonvarn thought it could be done for less. She offered to help them deliver the project intending only to charge a fee for designing the finishes. She however went on to be involved in the preceding groundworks package (without formal payment) until the point there was a fundamental disagreement about the project budget. The parties fell out and parted ways. At the point Mrs Lejonvarn ceased to be involved, the works were behind schedule, costs overrunning and there were issues with quality. The Burgesses went on to claim against Mrs Lejonvarn for the alleged losses in her capacity as architect and project manager…