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Old 01-01-2012, 07:58 PM
 
1,751 posts, read 3,483,220 times
Reputation: 1953

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I feel like an idiot.

I bought a house in July. Needs an attic space converted to a bedroom. Met an architect who had a lot of good ideas about the space and seemed to know what he was talking about. He shared his fees with me and they seemed reasonable. did not sign a contract. He was a nice guy and we communicated well in person

He came over and took some pictures and a few measurements. One month later he sends me what he calls a preliminary schematic design. I was not pleased...it looked like a high school project. His measurements were way off, and he had not incorporated any of the ideas we had talked about before and he had no explanation for these changes. for some reason he arranged to meet with the city Water Quality manager to discuss my storm drainage ditch, even though an attic reno would not impact the footprint of the house. He insisted this was needed.

After we talked about some changes, He came back over and took more measurements but never sent any updated work. Meanwhile, I met with two different contractors and two different roofers. No work can proceed without engineer approved plans and I wanted to get some things installed by the end of the year to get my tax break. Both contractors looked at the schematic design and were shocked at how bad it was...the scale on the design wasn't even correct. After a few more emails that he didn't respond to...18 days later, I emailed him and told him politely I was not interested in working with him anymore.

My overall assessment is he was young and inexperienced and didn't really know how to execute his ideas.

One month after me letting him go, he sends a very detailed invoice for his time; 10 hours at $90 an hour. He gave me a %15 discount so I owe him $765.

I understand paying him for the time he spent meeting with me. I'm less comfortable paying him $90 to meet with the person from the city when it was completely unnecessary, and even less comfortable paying him for 7 hours spent working on plans that were completely useless. He should be embarrassed to bill me for those.

How can I manage this? Just suck it up and pay for it? Explain my point of view and what I'm comfortable paying? Since I didn't sign anything, I don't know what my obligations are, nor do I really know what is fair.

by contrast, my new architect gave me a detailed proposal; for $900 I would have, in hand, complete plans drafted of the house as it is plus a proposal for renovation. His hourly rate is $75.

WWYD?
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Old 01-01-2012, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,489 posts, read 18,758,459 times
Reputation: 2686
I would write a letter with all the details and expalnations you put here. Tell him your dissatisfaction with his work and poor plans. Tell him you had 2 contractors look at the plans and thier reaction. Be up front.
Mention you have no contract and offer to pay him 1/2 the bill at $75.00 per hour because the new competant architect made complete usable plans and charged $75.00 per hour.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:17 PM
 
28,461 posts, read 78,656,849 times
Reputation: 18593
Technically you could probably get away with leaving him hanging... No contract means he'd have a hard time prevailing in small claims court and no chance getting a mechanic's lien against you...

I always recommend hiring folks only based on referrals -- there are undoubtedly lots of licensed architects that have the experience to deliver the needed drawings so that a project like this could have been done in a timely manner...
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:23 PM
 
16,140 posts, read 22,702,466 times
Reputation: 26705
"Help! I hired a terrible architect".
You said it, you hired him. Fair is fair, pay him.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:42 AM
 
10,135 posts, read 25,418,095 times
Reputation: 8339
NY State may not have a home solicitation consumer protection act like NYC does. Many states require a written contract and an estimate and the right to cancel even if there is one and the right to cancel even after the work is done if there is not a written contract and an estimate. Here in Ohio architects are not exempted.

Check your local and state laws first. then decide what is fair.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:11 AM
 
Location: Village of Patchogue, NY
1,143 posts, read 2,802,524 times
Reputation: 616
It took him 1 month to provide 10 hours of work? lol.

It's hard for some people, but you're getting your emotions mixed up with business.

You thought you were hiring a professional, but instead you got a smooth talker with the aptitude of a grade schooler. I could give you endless examples where this is totally unacceptable in the professional world, but I'll spare you the lecture.

Don't feel bad for the guy, it's not your fault he sucks at his job. Sounds like the plans he drew up wouldn't even get a passing grade in school.

So, I would explain my dissatisfaction along with evidence of his poor work, and tell him to not waste any more time to try and fix it. Sounds like the consult went well, but the product he provided was poor. Offer to pay him for the time he spent at your house @ $90/hr, but nothing else and take this as a lesson learned. Ask for a revised invoice to reflect this and don't remit until he does.

Lastly, things will likely get uncomfortable or even ugly if he get his feelings involved. Might even pull a lawsuit or lawyer card, but if he does that then don't pay him at all until the mess he created is sorted. This will keep the ball in his court, and if he's smart enough he will just take your fair adjustment, cut his losses, and move on. Just don't bring your feelings into it and you'll ride it out fine.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:37 AM
 
574 posts, read 1,533,786 times
Reputation: 486
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaneSA View Post
I would write a letter with all the details and expalnations you put here. Tell him your dissatisfaction with his work and poor plans. Tell him you had 2 contractors look at the plans and thier reaction. Be up front.
Mention you have no contract and offer to pay him 1/2 the bill at $75.00 per hour because the new competant architect made complete usable plans and charged $75.00 per hour.
Yes you have the correct direction but even this is too nice! I would not pay the worthless bum a dime! Any professional with nothing to hide, and that knows what they are doing, would have had you sign a contract for services. With no contract this bum will attempt to railroad you for whatever fee he/she thinks they can get.

More people need to stand up to worthless service people like this one! Don't pay the bum a dime and use the money to pay the contractors or others that have provided proper service! If the bum gives you a problem immediately file a complaint with his/her licensing board. That will shut them up in a hurry.

Just goes to show you that a degree does not always mean anything!
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:57 AM
 
2,944 posts, read 8,211,032 times
Reputation: 3073
It would seem reasonable and fair to pay him for the consultation time, as there appeared to be value in that, but not for the time associated with what seemed to be unsatisfactory preliminary sketches inconsistant with what was discussed, or meeting with the township (keep in mind that if the new scheme requires changes to the roof line, which would affect current management of storm water, then the township would have to approve this change, however this could have been addressed during permitting).

As I am sure you are now aware, engaging someone to perform a service without a clear agreement or understanding of end result or upset cost is ill-advised and often can result in disapointment or dispute. Good luck with your current architect and here's hoping you have a successful and satisfying process/project from here on.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:05 AM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,640 posts, read 23,438,570 times
Reputation: 5839
I assume you told him that you were not happy with the first submittal.
I'm not sure I would pay him for anything, especially since you were unhappy with the outcome from the first meeting.

Since he doesn't have a contract with you, he is kind of up the creek, with little teeth to go after you.

As a good will gesture, you might offer to pay him for his time for the first meeting, but since everything he did after the meeting was worthless to you......well, it's worthless.

Good luck
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Old 01-02-2012, 11:49 AM
 
Location: Apple Valley Calif
7,474 posts, read 21,676,602 times
Reputation: 5651
No contract, no pay...! DO NOT pay this bum one dime..! His first visit and consultation should have been free, the rest of his services were worthless. He deserves nothing, and you would be foolish to pay him anything.
This is business, you don't have to feel sorry for him and give hm any money. Be happy you found out about him before you got in any deeper..!
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