The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has produced a guide for engaging an architect. It includes some important topics, such as: appointing an architect, developing a brief, project leadership, fee options and legislation. In the next few posts on our blog, we summarise the main points listed in the guide, to help prospective and current clients enhance their understanding of why and how to work with an architect.
Checking your architect’s credentials
In the UK, a ‘architect’ must be registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB). Registered architects must adhere to the ARB Standards of Conduct and Practice, and the ARB can take action against those who fall short of the expected standards. RIBA also maintains a Code of Practice and expects its members to work with integrity and honesty. Architects practising in the UK who are registered with the ARB and are also Chartered Members of RIBA are entitled to describe themselves as ‘Chartered Architects’. RISE Design Studio is a RIBA Chartered Practice.
An architect can bring many benefits to your project and it’s not just about supplying you with drawings. An architect has experience to see your project safely through design, planning and building regulations, and construction. For a building project, the range of services an architect can provide includes:
– investigating the feasibility of the requirements;
– developing design proposals;
– applying for statutory approvals;
– preparing construction information;
– obtaining tenders for building work;
– administering a building contract; and
– interior design and landscaping services.
Appointing an architect
Architects who are members of RIBA are required by the Code of Professional Conduct to record the terms of any appointment before undertaking any work, and to have the necessary competence and resources.
It is in the architect’s and the client’s interests to understand their agreement, which should define and record the services to be provided and identify terms and conditions. RIBA provides a range of flexible Appointment Agreements, which an architect can use with all types of projects.
Agreeing the terms of the project
An agreement defines the obligations of each party and makes provisions for the assignment, fees, payments, copyright, liability, suspension, termination and dispute resolution. An agreement will also comprise the conditions, schedule of services and formal confirmation of the contract in a memorandum of agreement or letter of appointment.
Generally, the architect retains copyright of the information produced for your project (in accordance with the law). Architects are required to maintain professional indemnity insurance in respect of their liability to the client.
What an architect agrees to do
In general, an architect undertakes to:
– use reasonable skill and care;
– keep the client informed of progress and on issues affecting time, cost or quality;
– co-operate with other appointed designers/constructions team(s);
– only make alterations to the approved deisng with the client’s prior approval.
The role of the client
As a client, you would undertake to:
– advise on the relative priorities of your requirements;
– provide necessary and accurate information;
– appoint other consultants and specialists required under separate agreements;
– comply with CDM regulations if the project is not at your home (see next blog post);
– take decisions and respond promptly to approvals sought by your architect;
– pay the fees, expenses etc. due and VAT where applicable;
– employ a building contractor under a separate contract if proceeding with construction work.
Read a copy of the RIBA guide to working with an architect for your home.