Couple Outraged By 'Ugly Duckling' Home Cinema Win Six-Figure Damages

If building works on your home go wrong, strong legal representation can ensure that you are properly compensated. In a recent case, a couple who paid over £400,000 for a state-of-the-art home cinema, but did not get the architectural jewel they had bargained for, succeeded in a professional negligence claim against the award-winning architect responsible for the debacle.

The couple engaged the architect to design the cinema, which was to grace the pool room of their substantial home. They wanted a sleek modern design, but what they got was a glass box on legs with a 'wonky industrial' appearance.

In upholding the couple's claim, the High Court found that they were justifiably outraged. Given the great cost of the project, they were entitled to expect a bespoke, high-end result. After technical difficulties were encountered, the architect neither informed nor consulted the couple about substantial changes to the design.

In accepting the couple's argument that the best option was to demolish the cinema in its entirety, the Court described it as an ugly duckling that was incapable of being turned into a swan. The couple were awarded the £430,758 costs thrown away in the abortive project, together with the costs of remedial works and £5,000 to compensate them for the distress and inconvenience they endured.

If your building project turns into a disaster, take legal advice as soon as possible. Obtaining judgment is just the first step – obtaining compensation can depend on acting promptly as well as making sure the contractual terms are right and the contractors and/or architects are properly insured before you sign the contract.