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Pay Dh7m for falcon hotel design, even if not built: Dubai Court

The hotel and officer tower were to come up in Business Bay, pictured here. (Supplied)

By Mohammed El Sadafy

The absence of a contract between a property owner and an engineering firm concerning fees does not preclude the landlord from payment of fees, as long as implementation of projects was agreed on, the Dubai Court of Cassation has ruled.

The court confirmed that proof of an agreement can be proved by other means - such as a witness' testimony or taking of an oath.

The court ruled that the value of these fees can be estimated according to legal precedent, and in case there were no similar examples, the judge can estimate the same according to the standardised engineering contract of the consultancy.

The court also asserted that failure of the landlord to get official permits required for the project does not preclude him from the obligation of payment of fees to the engineering firm, as long drawings and designs were agreed on.

The Dubai Court of Cassation made the rulings in a case where an engineering firm which asked the court to compel the landlord to pay Dh7,508,000 for the design of two towers to be used as hotel and commercial offices.

The requested amount is the value of costs of designs and drawings for two towers - each comprising 51 floors; one a hotel and the other for offices.

The plaintiff added that the property owner asked him to design the hotel in the shape of a falcon.
It was to be located  in the Business Bay area.

The engineering firm implemented the necessary designs, but was surprised by the failure of the owner to pay the fees claimed.

The plaintiff pointed out that the owner did not pay the fees as a result of the refusal of municipality permissions for the hotel project.

The said land was allocated by the municipality as a parking area.

The court assigned an engineering consultant expert to prepare a report on the subject and the report required the owner to pay Dh4,652,000 to the engineering firm.

However, both two parties didn’t accept the judgment of the Court of First Instance and appealed it before the Court of Appeals, which rejected the case.

The plaintiff then appealed the Court of Cassation, which has issued a verdict compelling the landlord to pay the Dh7m fee to the engineering office.

The court based its ruling on texts of articles 881 and 889 of the Civil Transactions Act, as based on Local Order No. 89 of 1994 regulating the practice of engineering.