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Can the builder request more money prior to completion of the works if the contract does not state this?

Property Law

Antonio Flores Vila

19th of October 2001

Q. We have had some building work done via a management company, who organised it through an architect. We originally agreed on a price with the architect (not the builder), but the costs have crept up. We made a second agreement on an increased price, stating quite clearly that this was our limit. These agreements were not contracts, just fax and e-mail, therfore not signed. Now the architect has asked for another 2.5 million ptas, claiming that the builder has asked for this through all the work, we paid the architect, who then paid the builder.

We have already paid for two-thirds of the work, and are to pay the rest on completion of work. Where do we stand legally? Who is responsible, the architect, the mangement company or us?

Anonymous

    A. The whole set up seems rather complicated. You should have two separate agreements, one with the builder and one with the arquitect. This is important since you are requesting services from two different people and there are a number of conditions which have to be agreed.

    Regarding the legal position, it will depend on the terms and conditions of the documents signed and the extent of the involvement of each party.

    If you are to pay the last third on completion, and it is documented, then that is what stands. You have complied with your obligations and the builder needs to subsequently comply with his, which is to deliver a completed house against the payment of the balance as agreed.

    If you need more help do not hesitate to contact us.


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