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Excessive invoice

Our builder contracted a structural engineer to look at load bearing walls in our Victorian villa and rsj requirement. The builder told us it would be £500 or just a bit more at the most. The engineer visited and drew up plans. We requested the engineers contacts details and number but weren’t given this until the engineer had visited. We were then unable to contact the engineer after trying on many occasions until after plans were drawn. The engineer has just given us a bill for more than three times that amount. Do we have to pay this? Alongside this the engineer put a big hole in the original ceiling without our permission so whole bedroom ceiling is ruined.

Hi don’t know how to ask another questions so hoping you see this! Thanks for the answer. Have literally just submitted the plans to building regs probably the day before I was billed. When I look at my emails etc, the builder didn’t even give us the engineers name and phone number until after he had completed the visit. The builder met him on site. I have been trying to get a bill for the about £500 since January but he had no contact numbers and just kept saying by email that he would send the invoice. to receive this excessive bill now and him say we have got to pay it will it have something to do with building regs submission? He could have asked for any amount and said we have to pay the situation seems ludicrous!

We did get this in writing from the builder saying it would be no more than at most just above £500.

4 Answers from MyBuilder Architectural Designers

Best Answer

unfortunately unless you have something in writing stating how much it would cost its a he said she said situation,
your builder i personally would sack on the spot for at best being incompetent and a worst just being a con man
you should always get everything in writing before anything is agreed this gives both party's the chance to look at all aspect and ask any questions before any decision is given,
without knowing what was required it difficult to know if its value for money

you dont have anything in writing from the engineer prior to anything being done,

its quite difficult basically the builder has taken it on himself to instruct an engineer on your behave so he will be privy to the engineers costs,
he has then ducked out the responsibility for paying this when he has seen he has messed up and passed the costs on to you direct,
the fact the plans have been submitted means they have been accepted,
this builder has used both you and the engineer you have no idea what has been said to the engineer just as he has no idea what the builder has said to you
so there for the builder is responsible for the extra costs as he has agreed everything without running anything passed you past you, he has most likely told the engineer your happy with everything so the engineer has gone ahead and done what he is charging for and drawn your plans and submitted them that is why he would not give you the engineers details, your builder has been lying to you both making both party think the other side is informed and happy with what is happening,
the engineer is as much a victim as you are.
you need to seek legal advice


Answered 1st Jul 2020

To qualify the previous answer you should have obtained a detailed quotation from your builder which would inform you whether or not it included the structural design fee and how much that was.
If the builder instructs the engineer he either pays himself or quotes you separately what the fee will be and obtains your approval before instructing the engineer to proceed.
I agree - the builder shows great incompetence.


Answered 11th Jul 2020

In my opinion the engineer should have made it clear what his fees would be before putting pen to paper. As an architect I would never commence any work without an agreement in place. I would also establish who the client is I.e the one who instructed the services. I would go back to the engineer to ask how he has arrived at the final invoice amount (One of the engineers I use charges around £100 per calculation per beam). Your final bill seems very high indeed. The builder should not have suggested the cost of structural calculations, instead he should have provided the engineers details. I certainly would contest the fee with the engineer. He should have been upfront about his charges at the outset. I’ve had clients instruct me before I have given them a fee. I would not proceed with any work until fees have been agreed!! Very underhand in my opinion. It’s easy to be naive in these situations. You’ve trusted the builder at his word when he mentioned a figure of around £500. Think of the worst case - if you didn’t pay the bill would the engineer take you through the small claims court. Who confirmed the appointment ? Anyone ? The fact he hasn’t been transparent with you about fees wouldn’t go down too well. If the builder has instructed the engineer then he pays the bill! If he’s instructed the engineer on you behalf - where is your written instruction ? If you haven’t instructed the engineers services then I wouldn’t pay. Don’t pay the bill until you know what you’re paying for. I would perhaps contact another engineer and enquire out of interest what they would charge for similar services.


Answered 24th Jul 2020

Hi, from what i can tell it appears that the engineer has no form of appointment with you. This is a breach of his code of conduct. Its possible that he does have an agreement with the builder, but if so that is between them to resolve.

6.4 Terms of appointment
6.4.1 Members should take all reasonable steps to
ensure that their client understands the scope
of the service to be provided including any
limitations. The terms of appointment should
be agreed (preferably in writing) before any
work is commenced. The urgency with which
work is often required should not be allowed to
override the need for written clarification
of the brief.
6.4.2 Members should ensure that their brief and
terms of payment are agreed by the client
and should obtain written acceptance prior
to commencement of work. If it becomes
apparent that the scope of work and/or the
fee eventually chargeable will differ from that
originally agreed, the client should be advised
of this at the earliest opportunity of it becoming


Answered 24th Jul 2020

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