Jul 09, 2019 12:37 pm
We are in a dispute with the company who provided our engineered plans for our extension we are currently building, and its gotten to the stage where the engineer has stopped responding to our calls and emails. It never got heated, we have both been polite and diplomatic throughout so we are a bit surprised by this. They are still in business, so haven't gone bust or anything like that.
The slab layout plan and the floor plans did not align, so when it came time to put the frames up, it was apparent that one of the brick columns to our Al Fresco area was going to end up floating over thin air. The frame and truss company went off the floor plan measurements which were correct. It was the concrete slab layout plans which were out by 450mm. It wasn't the concretors fault, he just went off the plans that were supplied.
At the time we went back to the company who supplied the plans, they agreed that the engineer had messed up, and they agreed to fix the issue at their cost, and pay for the additional strip of concrete slab that would be required. We received the amended plans, engaged the concretor to come back and lay the new bit of concrete so we could finish off installing the brick column. The only thing we didn't do, is get an additional inspection by the PCA prior to pouring the extra bit of slab, as it was only a 900mm strip we formed and poured it on the same day.
When it came time to settle the costs, the company who supplied the plans have wiped their hands of it and asked us to engage directly with the engineer as it was his error, the engineers initial response was that he was surprised that the error was not picked up prior to laying the concrete slab. I suppose as an owner builder, I put all my faith in the engineer providing accurate plans. The error in the plans was also missed by the PCA, the concretor and the frames and trusses company. So in my opinion, it was not a glaring error and he has to take the responsibility.
So, the engineer has not responded since despite numerous emails and phone calls. We are not talking about a great deal of money, the extra concrete was about $1,500, we ended up having to tile the al fresco area to hide the join in the concrete, which was about $3,500 inc materials and labour.
So i suppose the question is what course of action do we take. Is this something we should take to Fair Trading NSW to try and agree on a compromise? Is it worth it for $5k? Or does anyone think that the responsibility was on us to check the plans and we should just suck it up and move on?
Appreciate anyones feedback
Cheers for reading!
Re: Settling a dispute with engineer2
Jul 13, 2019 9:33 am
Welcome to the forum
Next time, you might insist that your architect/consultant uses better AEC design(3D Bim) software
Where the data, engineering and measurements and onsite laser measuring tools Translate & Co-ordinate correctly.
I wouldn't bother with Fair trading ultimately it's your responsibility as an OB to check the measurements.
OT, Engineers can Design, Engineer & Build Billion Dollar Mining projects with absolute precision using their 3D Bim Software.
(No Architects involved?, that should be telling you something)
It is also encouraging to hear That one of the leading architectural BIM software companies will make their software more inclusive with engineering in the next release..LOL, why has it taken 30+ years to wake up... I am guessing they didn't care about basic home builds, data and engineering? Society trusts engineers .... Not so Architects/Artists
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Re: Settling a dispute with engineer3
Aug 21, 2019 10:00 pm
Given the value you are out of pocket v's the up hill battle you are about to face, IO would say cop it on the chin, chalk it down to a lesson learned and move on with enjoying your home.....
We made some mistakes on our plans, some we picked up prior to works commencing, some after. Some we were able to get rectified, some we were able to compromise with the builder on a solution to during the build, and some we could probably argue was the engineers fault, but in the end decided it was not worth the headache.
We are about 12 weeks away from moving in, and fighting with an engineer couldn't possibly be further from my mind right now. (Plus I'm too busy with internal painting before the floors get done)
Re: Settling a dispute with engineer4
Aug 22, 2019 9:45 am
I am not familiar with NSW but in Vic you can make a small civil claim in VCAT (it should be the same in NSW)
It is worth doing so because at the very least it will make the engineer take notice of you.
Engineer will have Professional indemnity insurance and if you make an claim against that engineer's excess will be likely $5000 anyway
It should prompt the engineer to settle with you.
As OB you are the builder and there is no umbrella over you to protect you, You take responsibility for everything including the checking.
To give you example, on large jobs we(as a builder) get shop drawings where we check say windows against architectural drawings to make sure before they are made and delivered. If you don't put that much effort into your build you may end up with a Camel.
As for your contractors, they won't care, they are not paid to think for you, so if you don't know what you are doing its your risk, or get building consultant to help you.
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Settling a dispute with engineer6
Aug 24, 2019 7:28 pm
I’m not sure you will be successful, responsibility also rests with you the OB to check the plans. Mistakes are easily made in this manner and you can’t really claim the cost of tiling and concrete that was needed anyway. I’d let it slide and move on.
Re: Settling a dispute with engineer7
May 27, 2020 1:33 pm
Thanks for the response guys. Yeah I'm happy to take it on the chin this time, but my wifes putting her foot down and wants to fight it so we'll see how we go!
Maybe you need to read again carefully all Engineers notes, most of the Engineering plans are nominated not to scale or have an exclusion note that all measurements need to be taken from Architectural drawings, Concretor need to follow Architectural drawings for measurements or at least compare before they start.
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