jsharris, on 28 January 2016 - 02:37 PM, said:
This is a smoke screen, as you know, I'm sure.
When you contract with a professional to undertake a task within his agreed professional scope you must have a reasonable expectation that he will act professionally and keep you, as his client, informed of any issue that arises that is outwith his direct control or area of responsibility in a prompt and timely manner.
Anyone who contracts to provide a service and advice, or even anyone who gives advice that could be considered to be within their breadth of experience, is, by law, responsible for making sure that advice is sound, appropriate and timely. I've given evidence in cases where professionals have failed in their duty of care to give sound advice, and one barrister I was working with quoted an interesting example as to how far a duty of care can extend. A man, who was a trained vehicle technician, gave free advice to his neighbour on how to change the brake pads on his car. The neighbour followed that advice and changed the pads, rather than take the car to a garage. Some weeks later the car was involved in a fatal accident. Part of the cause was determined to be a partial failure of the brakes due to the brake pads having been incorrectly fitted. The vehicle technician, who had only given verbal advice over the fence to his neighbour, was found negligent.
In your case your surveyor is the expert, with the in-depth technical knowledge, and so he had a duty of care to you to give you sound and timely advice. He made a serious error in not correctly identifying the risk that the gas pipe may be a National Grid communication pipe, he failed to check with NG as to the nature of the pipe until late in the building works, and he then compounded that error by giving you bad advice later regarding the time it would take for NG to undertake to move the pipe.
As a layperson you cannot have been expected to know the nature of the pipe, the way that National Grid work, the legal position regarding moving or interfering with NG property or the costs involved in moving this pipe. You were reliant on him, in law, to give you professional advice and to keep you informed about project risk. He seems to have failed in his professional duty, so you most certainly have a strong case for making a claim against him, I think.
Thanks for this great advice.
We have now had a quote back from a UIP which confirms Nat Grids position on replacing all the pipe is correct and cost and timescales make it a non-option.
What should I do now as the staircase and formed opening is FUBAR
I have initially responded to my surveyor along the lines of your text above.
Should I give him the chance to suggest a plan of action to remedy the situation? I assume he will not admit fault and offer to pay for the remedial works, which will mean peeling everything back to the structural beam work and moving them to enlarge the opening, electrics, ceilings, studwork will all need to come out and be redone.
Do I tell the main contractor to suspend works while this plays out ? Or let them continue with putting the windows back in and finishing the garden, bath and shower room, which are not affected by the gaspipe and stairs and then halt the works? we have no windows at the moment!
Should I threaten legal action or just start going legal anyway?
I don't have the budget to start again so do I just lodge a compensation claim with RICS and put a claim in against the surveyours indemnity insurance? Should I also claim against the main contractor? Or is this something for a lawyer to advise? How long could that take to settle?
I think I need a drink!