Our colleagues at Focus Underwriting have made us aware of this issue
which can contribute to claims against architects:
The Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) recommends that before an architect commences work on a project, the architect and client enter into a written agreement signed by the parties that, amongst other things, defines the services to be provided and the fees to be paid.
The AIA has developed the Client Architect Agreement (CAA2019) and the Client Architect Agreement for Limited Services (CAALS2019) to assist its architect members to meet their professional obligations to provide written agreements to their clients.
For architects practicing in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria, Codes of Conduct have been adopted that not only make this a legal requirement, but also require that specific terms are incorporated into those agreements. Tasmania may well be on the cusp of adopting such obligations under a similar draft proposed Code of Conduct.
If you are an architect practising in the above jurisdictions, you should familiarise yourself with the applicable Code and the specific terms that must be incorporated into your agreements. It is strongly advisable that you and your staff comply with all requirements contained therein, noting the requirements vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. When considering your terms of agreement, refer also the Guidance Note from informed Professionals by Planned Cover ‘Working on your own terms’.
Please note that if you are found to be in breach of an applicable Code, you may be subject to disciplinary action by the relevant Architects Registration Board.
Regardless of where you are located, it is prudent for all architects to enter into a signed written agreement with the client prior to providing professional services. A clearly drafted and well written agreement setting out the agreed terms and conditions is one of the most effective means of managing client expectations and having good communication with your client.
Claims Manager & Agency Advisor