23 June 2015

Last year, the Federal Court of Australia heard the case of Robinson v Kenny [2014] FCA 988, brought against an Architect for misleading and deceptive conduct during a tendering process.
The claim against the Architect arose after building work on a new residential property commissioned by the Client was aborted when the costs of construction grossly exceeded the Client’s expectations.
Allegations made by the Client against the Architect included that:

  • the Architect failed to provide complete information to the Client with respect to the Builder’s quote; and
  • the Architect withheld crucial information from the Client regarding the tender process which would have impacted on the decision of the Client to proceed with the project at that time.

After consideration of the evidence, Her Honour Farrell J found that the tender process was unorthodox due to the Architect being instrumental in the production of the building works quote. Her Honour also found that the Architect’s conduct, viewed as a whole, led the Client to the erroneous view that the building works could be completed for the amount indicated by the Architect to the Client.
The Builder, who was also originally a party to the proceedings was removed as a Respondent after being placed into liquidation.
Whilst the outcome of this complex case was determined by its particular factual circumstances, it is nevertheless an important reminder of the need for accurate and transparent communication with clients throughout the tender process.
For the full decision in this case, please click on the following link – Robinson v Kenny [2014] FCA 988