OVERESTIMATION/UNDERESTIMATION OF QS/ENGINEER'S COST ESTIMATES
CAN THE QS/ENGINEER BE HELD LIABLE AND THE CLIENT CLAIM COMPENSATION?
•Pre-tender Cost Estimates given to employers are not normally guaranteed by the QS/Engineer.
•The Engineer or QS does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of the pre-tender cost estimate
•It is possible for it to be underestimated or over-estimated due to conditions outside the control of the QS/Engineer eg. Drastic change in economic, financial and market conditions, drastic change in scope, change in legislative requirements, change in construction technology etc.
PAUL TSAKOK & ASSOCIATES V. ENGINEER & MARINE SERVICES (PTE) LTD (1991),
•In the Singapore case of Paul Tsakok & Associates v. Engineer & Marine Services (Pte) Ltd (1991), an architect brought an action against a client for unpaid fees. The architect had given an estimate for a project to the client. Eventually, the client decided not to call any tenders, because he considered that tenders would exceed the estimate, but instead ordered the architect to revise all the drawings so that the tenders would come within the estimate given. The architect declined and demanded his fees.
•The client refused to pay.
•The court held that it was never the parties’ intention that the estimate was guaranteed.
•The architect could not be held responsible in this case and was entitled to be paid the proper full fees, pursuant to the SLA terms of engagement.
•This case shows that consultants are not expected to be perfect and that clients cannot dismiss them as and when they so desire.
•The architect, quantity surveyor or engineer does not normally guarantee an estimate he gives to a client.
•However, although the court found in favour of the architect, the judge considered that both parties had behaved unreasonably and the matter could have been resolved without going to court. Because of this, he only awarded the architect one-half of his legal costs.
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