1.            Architect commissioned on minimum terms basis for about 30 townhouses of three basic plan formats and three varying cladding types in several blocks on a site with varying levels excavated out of sloping land.  “Typical” plans elevations sections and retaining walls only provided – almost all at 1:100 – with 1:20 details at a few critical/typical junctions; generic specification with “choices” all left for construction phase.  Developer runs the whole of the tendering/contract admin/project management using NZS3915 (no “engineer to contract”):  directly contracts out the bulk excavation which is done as the tenders are submitted for the building construction.  Disputes arise when contractor seeks variations as follows:

a.            Recessed shower bases (ie cut 12mm or so into the walls – not detailed) compromise fireratings at timber inter-tenancy walls and require substantial nogging and adaption of prenailed frames

b.            Chosen kitchen extract requires ducting to end wall of unit, boxed out ceilings, adaption of prenailed  frames, additional gib fixing and finishing

c.             Elevations show where the different claddings were to be used, but there are additional costs of detailing to deal with changes in cladding types within the plan types (typical details apply to cladding types but not junctions between them)

d.            Additional costs to accommodate trimming of bulk excavation

e.            Additional costs of retaining walls varying between architect’s drawings and final levels created by bulk excavation.  Ditto various site-directed stormwater items required to suit.

f.             Additional costs because the bulk excavation creates a steep embankment for which no retaining wall is provided in the contract until after there is a subsidence and damage sustained to the main contractor’s half-built work.

2.            Architect engaged for gym with specialist sprung floor system.  After much research, local franchisee of global brand is appointed as nominated subcontractor, at least partly on the basis of the warranty available.  Construction proceeds to completion to everyone’s satisfaction and the warranty formalities are actioned.  A few short years afterward it is apparent that the floor is failing, and the only remedy is total replacement at a significant sum.  Local franchisee immediately folds, and the global principal is called upon to make good the warranty.  Polite letter by overseas airmail points out that the global entity unconditionally stands by their product but offers no underwriting of franchisee performance and therefore from their point of view the matter is at an end.

3.            Clients engage architect for fancy house on their existing site and on the basis of a very preliminary chat about psm costs which sets the preliminary budget.  Many changes by the client along the way  substantially add to costs, but the architect is determined to create a masterpiece nevertheless.  Clients independently seek builders estimate at an early stage, arrange finance and update architect on that basis, shift out to another house they owned and had previously rented out, and demolish existing house.  18 months delay while client diverts available funds into unrelated business opportunity.  Project recommences and is eventually put out to tender.  Wildly varying tenders received, but the lowest is significantly above any expectations:  the client abandons the project and seeks damages from architect.  (It later transpires that the business has sucked them dry also, and that they are content with minor alterations to their alternative accommodation instead).

4.            Structural engineer designs steel beam (ie calculations, PS1 and pencil sketches) for architect to incorporate into drawings.  House completed (to the delight of the clients), but the floor over the beam is very bouncy and gib ceilings crack.  Ceilings pulled away, beam strengthened, clients have to move out and pay for motel while the remediation is completed at engineer’s cost.  Architect’s final fee claim returned unpaid and with a short note that if it is pursued there will be a counter-claim.