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Digital Subscriptions > Build It > Nov-16 > Ask the EXPERTS


Essential advice on your problems with building, budgeting, DIY & planning from the most experienced names in the self build industry


What are my designer’s legal responsibilities?


Our architect failed to identify that the presence of three trees near to our planned garage was serious enough to threaten its completion. Our contractor had just started to dig the foundations when building control stopped them and demanded a full engineer’s report (priced at £600). Their specifications will add at least £6,000 to our construction costs. What duty of care did the architects have to identify the likely impact in advance of the build?

The issue of liability comes down to the contract you have with the practice. The final decision on foundation requirements falls to building control (BC), not your architects, so it depends on whether they were contracted to check this. My advice is always to speak to BC first about likely foundation specifications. If they can’t give a precise answer, a soil survey is definitely going to be needed to identify conditions and determine a suitable solution for groundworks and foundations. It’s additional expense, but it flags up the costs you’re likely to face so you can budget for them.

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About Build It

Build It magazine’s November issue is packed with detailed practical advice & inspiring projects to help you create your dream home. Here’s a taster of what’s inside: • Stunning eco renovation (page 54) • How to get loft conversions right (page 64) • What you need to know about insulating your home (page 70) • 10 design tips for wetrooms (page 85) • Save money by getting your project budget right (page 100) • How to get planning permission in the countryside (page 106) … and more!