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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Franchisee Requests Delay Damages from Architecture Firm

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Virginia
    I am a licensed Virginia architect whom works as an employee for a S-corporation located in New Jersey; the S-corp markets itself as a design firm including interiors, architecture & construction management.
    our firm did the floor plan (test fit), sign sealed building permit drawings (with a licensed Virginia engineering consultant) and construction management for a new saladworks restaurant in reston, virginia at the plaza america.
    the franchisee signed a lease with the landlord that had "penalties" (rent commencement date?). These penalties kicked in on the franchisee before the project had started construction and was still in permitting (plan review) with Fairfax County.
    The franchisee is negotiating for the landlord to give back 75% of the penalties and has asked our firm to give the other 25% ($12000) which was 2/3rds of our fee.
    our firm delivered the permit drawings to the franchisee approx. 2 days later than the agreed delivery date.
    during the review process our firm and our engineer responded to each round of comments from Fairfax County in an average of 3 to 4 days (longest duration was 9 days & shortest was same day).
    The plan review process with Fairfax County involved the initial submission and than 2 more rounds of re-submissions that took approx. 122 days (+17 weeks) to get bldg permit in hand!!!!
    needless to say the franchisees planned schedule for opening his saladworks vs. the actual was elongated.
    does the franchisee have a case for recovering delay damages from our design firm?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010

    Default Re: Franchisee Requests Delay Damages from Architecture Firm

    Is that the one in Plaza America? Just ate there the other day. Frankly the food was good (I've eaten at other franchises) thought the staff was really green and slow (I guess not uncommon for a new place).
    The franchisee has better learn something about how to behave in his own restaurant. It's annoying to the guests for the guy to be sitting there jabbering on his cellphone in the middle of the dining area planning marketing and griping about things.

    Did the design firm have a contract with any delay or date certain of delivery with the franchisee? If not, I'd tell them to pound sand. Even if you were responsible for the delays, you'd have no responsibility for them. Delays happen in construction.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Franchisee Requests Delay Damages from Architecture Firm

    You gave us the time table, which is great, but presumably they are suggesting that you were negligent in your conduct and did not live up to the standards represented in your contract, trade, and/or marketing materials. Once you get into the details, this isn't really something that can realistically be analyzed in an online forum.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Franchisee Requests Delay Damages from Architecture Firm

    yes sounds like it.

    yes the firm's contract for the delivery of deliverables was:
    1. deliver the permit drawings 25 business days after approval of the schematic; 6/29/11 approved; 8/5/11 permit drawings delivered; [1 day late].
    2. respond to permit comments in 5 business days; 9/6/11 health dept comments issued - 9/9/11 firm responds to health dept comments (2 days early); 10/26/11 1st rd bldg comments issued - 11/8/11 firms responds to 1st rd bldg comments (4 days late because a structural engineer had to be hired outside scope of original contract due to fairfax cty comment); 11/15/11 final 1st rd MEP engineer comments issued - 11/16/11 firm's consultant responds to 1st rd MEP comments (4 days early); 11/17/11 2nd rd bldg comments issued - 11/21/11 firm responds to 1st rd comments (3 days early); 12/5/11 2nd rd final MEP comments issued - 12/5/11 firm's consultant responds to 2nd rd MEP comments (5 days early); 12/30/11 fairfax county issues permit to franchisee & GC.

    these drawings are "prototypes" adapted to the project specific site and have been used 20+ restaurants before this store to get building permits since 2008 in herndon, virginia plus NJ, PA, DE, MD, MA, NY, CA, GA, TN & CT. And 3 or 4 other licensed architect firms with some other engineers have used the same prototypes in the last 18 in my opinion the same type of documents have been issued repeatedly as a precedent.

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