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Are you considering not using an architect for the construction stage?

A full architectural service takes a project from concept through to completion on site. Occasionally clients consider not engaging the architect for the construction stage of their project, other wise referred to as Contract Administration; however, there are risks associated with this. Some clients fail to understand that CA is a core architectural service, as opposed to an additional service. While this may at first be seen as a cost saving measure clients may not be aware of the risks involved by proceeding with the construction stage without the assistance and guidance of the architect. Contracts produced by such organizations as the MBA and HIA have no role for an architect and it could be argued that these contracts appear to be biased towards the building contractor. Clients need to understand these risks before making the decision not to engage the architect for the provision of CA services. The risks include:

  • Forms of building contract where there is no provision for an architect.

  • The absence of any provision for independent reporting to the client on time, cost and progress of the project.
  • The absence of any independent assessment of conformance of the construction works in relation to the building contract documents.
  • The absence of any independent assessment of design quality control, material selection, and performance in regard to the building contract documents.
  • Using a contract with no provision for independent assessment and valuation of variations, progress claims and/or extensions of time.
  • Using a form of contract where the adjustment of any prime costs, provisional sums and other monetary sums will be entirely under the control of the building contractor with provision for little or no input fr0m the owner (client).
  • Using a form of contract where there is no mechanism to ensure completion of any incomplete work.
  • Using a form of contract where there is no provision for retention of funds or other forms of security by the owner and hence no mechanism in the contract to ensure completion of the rectification of any defects.
  • Using a form of contract where the resolution of any issues arising on site is left in the hands of the building contractor apart from exercising the owner’s rights under the dispute resolution clause.
  • Using a form of contract that provides little or no protection for the owner in the event the building contractor gets into financial difficulties or goes into liquidation.

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