A polite debacle arose recently were a landscape architect, a contractor and a sub contractor agreed to work together for the common benefit of a client. Not much new there and a normal sounding relationship prior to the start of any garden build. What resulted was a mild tarnish and financial loss on the name of the landscape contractor because the firm employed to be the intermediary – the landscape designer, employed not only to design but also to ensure that both client and main contractor were protected financially – did not.
The main contractor, of good standing and rapport, naturally oversaw all of the work, took on the responsibility of the extra costs and the potential risk of added costs should any tasks have gone even mildly askew in the clients or architects eyes. From a garden point of view one would be very impressed with the end result. In this case the end result was not all it seemed.
The couturier and the tertiary contractor became acquainted and the overall costs which allowed for clients extras and mishaps were paid directly to the subcontractor from the main contractors original costings. As advised to the client. Of course it’s not like I haven’t been here myself – but then, in business one learns very fast!
On a larger scale this happens so regular within the construction industry where the middle man is deemed financially responsible and the contractor more often can do little but bite nails. ‘Sometimes’ it seems some of the finest garden builders in this country result in a negative financial situation through no fault of their own and are very much helpless when crossing the finish line as contract law becomes can you afford to wait and/ or can you afford to take ‘us’ on.
I really empathise and sympathise with my learned colleague and as explained to me the client can only take advice from his closest aide, the design guru. In this situation the client would have known no better than as advised to him and to pay monies down as he did. Should it have been ethically possible to approach this man and whisper in his ear then things may have been different, but it is not my position. However, the finest and most talented horticulturists and garden that was built aside I can only hope that this article allows the next garden contract run a little smoother [behind the scenes] as a result and that the honest contractors may take precedence in this changing world we live in.