Some days I feel like I am a lawyer, as I am constantly dealing with legal issues to protect my clients. These rang from planning requirements, building permit issues, to administrating a construction contract on site between the owner and builder.
Planning requires skills in understanding the legislations and rescode, which assists in the town planning negotiation stage with planners and neighbours. It makes it a lot easier to stand your ground when you know what your talking about and you have received an unreasonable objection. It also commands a greater respect from the planners.
Building permits require a thorough understanding of the Building Regulations, Building Codes, and the Australian Standards, and it helps to know what can and can’t be built at the design and development stage. Occasionally dispensations to the Building Regulations are required, this requires one to provide a good case to why this should be granted. It also makes life easier for the building surveyor who grants the dispensations.
Then when the project is on site, which not only requires a great understanding of construction, it needs an in depth knowledge of the building contract and construction law. How else would one monitor the progression of the build against the contract documents? Having a great understanding of construction law commands greater respect from builders, who incidentally love working with me.
I also get to use my years of project experience working in numerous countries – England, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, United Arabs Emirates, and United States of America (I may have forgotten a couple) – to provide valuable legal advice to the Practice of Architecture Committee, of which I’m a member. The committee covers a lot of legal issues, which are generated into practice notes used in court by solicitors and barristers. This also provides me with a great resource of people, and knowledge, when I require a second opinion.