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Client better protected with VG Expert

Do you have to pay an outrageously high bill from a contractor?


It may have already happened to you: a contractor's final invoice lists additional elements compared to the quote you agreed to. Consequently, you have to pay a higher price. If the extra cost is minimal, you probably frown, but you pay dutifully. But where do you draw the line? From when is an invoice unreasonable?

If due to circumstances you have not been able to request a price quote from various contractors before having the work carried out, it is advisable to have the quote checked, even after the work has been carried out, by the architect or a construction expert. If it is established that the contractor you have hired under pressure of the circumstances has not charged reasonable prices, it is best to report this to the construction expert as soon as possible after receipt of the invoice. The undisputed portion of the invoice may be paid to the contractor.

If the contractor proceeds with a summons, the court can still be asked to reduce the contract price to a reasonable amount, despite the existence of the signed offer. Keep in mind that this reduction of an agreed contract price is an exceptional rule that can only be applied if the client was unable due to circumstances to request and compare different offers.

The architect

My experience of years  


The architect simply does not want to come into conflict with his contractors because he has to work with them every time, and in most cases with the client only once. So he will always have to smooth out the folds between the two parties. The architect often chooses the side of his contractor, without the client noticing anything. At least he usually gives the impression to the client that he is on his side!


Errors in implementations are therefore not always reported to the client. Not all architects work like that, there are also those who are fair to all parties and do a good job, but you never know for sure until your own experience with an architect.  

Let's be clear

An architect asks prices to different contractors for the same work, with the hope that he will receive lower and higher prices than the price of his own contractor. In this he will try to grant his own contractor the advantage and mention that he has very good experience with it, that is possible, but who says that the prices that his contractor charges are normal and not too high, often the architect is cost estimate linked to the prices he receives and knows from his contractors, so is it impossible for the client to know from his cost estimate whether it is correct?

An architect works on a percentage of the total project, so the higher the quotes from his contractors, the more he can charge the client... logical! In this, the architect has every interest in taking the side of his contractors, so he is certainly not impartial. It is also advisable to have your submitted quotes screened before signing the contract to ensure that the prices charged are in line with market prices, so that you have the opportunity to negotiate with the architect and contractor and you are sure of the prices charged.  


Whether this statutory additional assignment for the architect-consultant will be an advantage for the client is in my opinion therefore impossible, because on one site he is appointed as an architect-consultant and on another site he is an architect-designer. so there's a good chance that the architect-advisor will join the game so as not to disadvantage his fellow architect-designer with his contractors!

Formula key on the door

Here too you have to be careful if you want to work with them, what I have noticed is that these companies do not always take it closely with versions / quality / terms and billing, you get a standard formula and if you want other things such as a kitchen / floors or installation, etc.. then the prices quickly skyrocket.


If you want to work with them, first inquire about references from this company before continuing. It is also recommended that you be assisted during the provisional delivery, because with such firms you are on your own and every party involved (architect/engineer and construction company) works with and for each other. There is also no one external to monitor these structures!

A good advice!

Make sure that all agreements made are also recorded verbally or answer this by e-mail, then you have proof of your agreements also of deadlines etc...

eg: After our telephone (oral) appointment I confirm......

Then you will always receive an answer from your confirmation, and often ask an open question by email to get an answer back, then you have more evidence on paper of your agreements!


See also the  Breyne . law

Additional legal assignment

It remains to be seen whether the introduction of yet another additional legal assignment for the architect-consultant will really offer a solution for the lack of protection of the private acquirer within the construction sector. The solution that can offer a better outcome is that external construction experts exclude who can provide support to the builders in order to keep the prices of contractors and architects at a normal level, so that the builders ultimately receive less payment and better protection, also for the execution of the works. . With even that extra cost for the support of a construction expert, you can pay even less than now, and then you can be sure that everything is checked and no corpses fall out of the closet.

And as described above " This compulsory appointment is made by the private acquirer, who thereby enjoys complete freedom of choice as to whom he wishes to appoint. The appointment must prevent the private acquirer from becoming a victim in case of problems due to his inexperience ." After all, half of the fee that would in principle be paid to the architect-designer should be allocated to the construction expert-advisor!


As I understand it, an architect-consultant only intervenes when the conflict is already there, but about prices/contradictions and


unforeseen items in the quotation  before signing the contract one does not talk about this, and that is usually where it starts. The intervention then concerns disputes regarding possible construction errors and billing?


But then it is too late and the bodies already fall out of the closet , everything depends on how an agreement has been concluded and once you have signed this agreement it is very difficult to go back on it but not always excluded, everything depends depending on how much experience the intervening counselor has in resolving such matters.  

As the saying goes, " Look before you begin"  " ("Consult, think before acting").

And construction expert-advisor has no advantage whatsoever with the foremen and is completely separate from it, because of this he can carry out his task to protect the builder.

VG Expert is not bound to all executors of assignments such as  contractors, architects and other service providers in the construction industry. We are exclusively at service directly for the client and for the protection of the client.

We ensure that the client is protected for his project.



Builder better protected?



Apr 12, 2017



Concerning the compulsory insurance of the ten-year civil liability of contractors, architects and other service providers in the construction sector of works in real estate and amending the law of 20 February 1939 on the protection of the title and the profession of architect.




This bill pursues a twofold objective:


• It puts an end to the discrimination raised by the Constitutional Court in its judgment no. 100/2007 of 12 July 2007 ( pdf ). In this judgment, the Court noted that “discrimination does not arise from the insurance obligation imposed (on architects) by the contested law, but from the lack of law applicable to the other “parties appearing in the deed of construction” of a comparable insurance obligation.” This law aims to address this.


• Its purpose is to better regulate the construction market and to offer better protection to the client. In order to achieve this, it is introducing a mandatory ten-year liability insurance policy for all actors in the construction sector, in particular the architect, the contractor and the other service providers in the construction sector. The advice of the Council of State no. 60329/1 of 16 December 2016 was followed in full.



Article in Knack from 29/04/08

Last year, a number of MPs submitted a bill to better protect consumers during the construction process.

According to the Explanatory Memorandum, the bill would serve to better protect private acquirers of houses and apartments that have not yet been built. According to the petitioners, the existing Housing Act (also known as the Breyne Act ) should be amended in several respects. After all, the last amendments to the Housing Act date from 1993 and the law would offer insufficient legal protection to private buyers of houses and apartments. For example, the excessive imbalance between the various parties (buyer, seller, builder, architect...) is pointed out. Tying sales in the construction sector should also be restricted even more strictly.

Field of application

First of all, according to the authors of the bill, the scope of the current Housing Act should be better clarified. There are still too many legislative loopholes today and too many structures are still being set up to escape the scope of the law. Too often blanket agreements are made that are artificially broken down into separate contracts to escape the scope of the law.


And so, according to the proposers of the bill, a "catch-all" provision (the aim of which is to make as many agreements as possible mandatory within the scope and protection of the law) should be included in the law. This is to avoid all abuses and to support the jurisprudence that is currently often unable to apply the Housing Act due to lack of a legislative basis, with all the ensuing consequences for the private acquirer.

Appointment of architect-consultant

The architect is always compulsorily appointed by the client for drawing up the plans and for monitoring the execution of the works. Within the current scope of the Housing Act, the architect is therefore usually appointed by the promoter or seller of houses or apartments, whose interests the architect will have to represent. According to the petitioners, the specific needs of the private acquirer are all too often overlooked. For that reason, in their view, an additional mandatory intervention by an architect-consultant should be introduced, who must only care about the interests of the private acquirer.


This architect-consultant will have to assist the private purchaser during the entire construction process. More specifically, he will check the plans, implementation drawings and specifications and supervise the proper execution of the works. He will also assist the private acquirer during the provisional and final acceptance. According to the authors of the bill, all this should protect the private acquirer better, without costing him much more, on the contrary. According to the authors of the bill, half of the fee that would in principle be paid to the architect-designer should be allocated to the architect-consultant!

Execution time and delay compensation

Still according to the petitioners, it should also be much clearer for the private acquirer when the contractor or promoter will finish the construction works or deliver the house. Exceeding the execution term would automatically lead to a late payment that would correspond to the current rental price for the finished home.

Legal presumption

The proposers of the bill also wish to introduce a "legal presumption" whereby the purchase or contract is always deemed to be at a fixed price. The concrete performances must be described fully and concretely.

Check payment

The bill also includes the obligation for the architect-consultant to check any payment request from the contractor or transferor.

Better guarantee scheme

The current Housing Act provides 2 types of guarantees, a guarantee for the recognized contractor of 5% and a so-called completion guarantee for the non-recognized contractor of 100%. According to the authors of the bill, this arrangement is discriminatory and the guarantee for the recognized contractor is not sufficient in the event of serious financial problems. According to the petitioners, the current guarantee scheme also often proved insufficient, especially in the construction of apartments.


With the bill they therefore hope to introduce a uniform guarantee scheme that all players in the market must adhere to, regardless of whether or not they are recognized as a contractor. The completion of the building must be guaranteed for a fixed amount of 130% of the price, also for apartments. As the works progress, the amount of the deposit could be reduced. The architect-consultant would have an important follow-up task in the guarantee scheme. In this way, the petitioners hope to put an end to the abuses whereby unauthorized contractors form a temporary association with recognized contractors to escape the guarantee scheme.


The most striking part of the Housing Act seems to us in any case to be the introduction of a new player within the construction industry, namely the architect-consultant. This compulsory appointment is made by the private acquirer, who thereby enjoys complete freedom of choice of whom he wishes to appoint. The appointment must prevent the private acquirer from becoming a victim in the event of problems due to his inexperience.


After all, the architect-consultant must assist the private purchaser in the various phases of the construction process (completion, payments, completion guarantee), without this entailing an enormous additional cost for the private purchaser.


After all, this new assignment for the architect entails new responsibilities, which will undoubtedly provoke conflicts with the other responsible persons within the construction industry.  It remains unclear whether the private acquirer will ultimately benefit from this. Watch out if this bill will ever be turned into law!

Meanwhile, it's a fact!


Concerning the intervention of a non-commissioned architect as technical advisor to the client

§ 1. If an architect is consulted by a client who already has a contractual relationship for the same work

     with a commissioned architect, the architect consulted second acts as an advisory architect.


§ 2. The consulting architect is satisfied that for a work for which the intervention of an architect is legally

     is required, a commissioned architect has actually been appointed, and his/her details are provided.


     After consultation with the client, the consulting architect delivers a written report in which he:


     a) if no substantial problems are identified, rebut the concerns of the client;


     b) if the client has doubted a position of the commissioning architect, and if it appears that

       pursuant to the applicable legal and regulatory provisions and rules of professional conduct this position of the

       the commissioning architect must nevertheless be accepted, refutes the objections of the client;


     c) if technical problems are indeed identified, describe these problems and investigate further        recommends, without prejudice to its obligation to safeguard public security;


     d) if the problems referred to concern the deontology of the architect, refer the parties to the

       Order of Architects, without taking a stand.


     In the cases listed under c) and d), the consulting architect shall, irrespective of the further course, bring the      inform the commissioning architect in writing of his intervention and his conclusions.


3.  a) If, in accordance with the provisions of § 2, c), the recommendation for further investigation is followed, the  

       consulting architect informs both parties in writing of the further planned course and invites them to  

       to be present during the investigations. With a view to reconciling the parties, the Advisory

       architect is committed to providing technical advice, in consultation with the commissioning architect, in order to find a solution

       get rid of the problem. The consulting architect shall in any case make a further written report of his

       findings and recommendations to both parties.


     b) If agreement is reached between the parties, follow-up of the implementation of the        technical solution the task of the commissioning architect, possibly in consultation with the consultant        architect.


§ 4. a) If, following the provisions of § 3, a) a difference of opinion continues to exist between the parties regarding the        proposed technical solution, the consulting architect shall include this in a final written report.


     b) If the client unilaterally terminates the contract of the commissioned architect, and if the        consultant architect is appointed as successive architect, he always adds the referred to under a).        technical report on the new architectural agreement and informs the Order of his previous        intervention as counselor. The parties follow the succession procedure as determined by the Order.

The client, responsibility and liability....published by Katrien Fierens/  More info

Interesting links


Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters (CD&V) saw a new law come into effect from 2017.....more info


Compulsory insurance for contractors: what are the advantages and disadvantages for the client?.....more info

Active in construction? Attention to the new insurance obligation!.....more info


Order of Architects: What to do in case of problems?.....more info

"The attitude of the government towards the architect is ambiguous".....more info


The architect agreement.....more info

As a client you have three major responsibilities:.....more info

Coupe lawyer: Obligations of the client towards the contractor.....more info

On the construction site: your rights and obligations as a builder.....more info

Overview of all obligations in the relationship between the client (client), contractor and subcontractor.....more info

Obligations of the client: special VAT return.....more info

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