A full architectural service takes a project from concept through to completion on site. Occasionally a potential client expresses a preference not to engaged us for the construction stage. This is otherwise known as Contract Administration, which is a core architectural service, as opposed to an additional service.
We understand, as an architectural practice, that it is very tempting not to engage us for the Contract Administration Stage, as it may appear to be a cost saving measure, however, there are risks proceeding with the construction stage without the assistance and guidance of the architect.
Contracts produced by such organizations like the Master Builders Associations (MBA) and Housing Industry Association (HIA) have no role for an architect, who act independently, and it could be argued that these contracts appear to be biased towards the building contractor.
You need to understand your projects risks before making the decision not to engage the us for this stage. These come under three main categories of ‘Time, Quality, and Costs’, which we will now explore further.
The first main risk is the project’s progress and timely completion, which your architect will closely monitor for you.
An architect will use a form of contract were there is a provision for liquidated damages for each day your project is delivered late. This is a strong incentive for the building contractor to complete your project on time, and if the project is delivered late your out-of-pocket expenses are reimbursed, which are determined before the signing of the contract.
If the building contractor claims for extensions of time for any variations, monetary sum adjustments, inclement weather, etc., your architect will assess if these are fair and reasonable. Thus, the date of completion will not be unfairly adjusted.
The second main risk is in relation to your project costs.
The form of contract used will have a provision for the architect to independently assess the valuation of progress claims, variations, and monetary sum adjustments. This will ensure you are not overpaying the contractor at any stage of your build.
And this form of building contract will provides you with the protection if the building contractor gets into financial difficulties or goes into liquidation.
The third main risk is in relation to your project’s quality.
Your site will be periodically visited by your architect to observe the general conformance of the construction works with the building contract documents and instruct the building contractor regarding design quality control.
And your architect will provide the building contractor with instructions, supplementary details, and clarification of the contract documents for quality assurance.
Along with instructing the building contractor of any incomplete work and rectification of any defects, and the contract has mechanisms to ensure this.
At the first instance not engaging an architect for the Contract Administration Stage appears to save money, when in fact engaging an architect for this stage can not only save you money, along with minimising your risks in relation to time and quality.