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ARBV Webinar: Client architect agreements and partial services

Welcome to this webinar series. It's been immensely popular. What we've been trying to implement to try and provide some ongoing professional guidance through the Web and through the knowledge that we have from your feedback. And so I'll just commence today, just changing slides, with a Welcome to Country.

Acknowledgment of Country. We respectfully, respectfully acknowledge the traditional owners of the land, which wherever attendees are situated, in particular the Wurundjeri People and

Bunurong /Boonwurrung people of the Kulin Nation and paying respects to the Elders past, present and emerging. Welcome, everybody. Today we're actually dual hosting today, and I'm proud to also publicly acknowledge that Rebecca Naughtin's joining me today and also helping me as the co-convener for the Registration Board of Victoria. Rebecca's an architect, business owner and educator.

And in addition to many of these roles, she's now also a convener. So she serves on the various boards and their insights and experience have played a vital role in shaping policies and strategies within the education sector. Rebecca's involvement with the ARBV is being for many years as an examiner and now co-convenor of examiners, a role in upholding professional standards and ensuring the integrity of architectural profession.

In Victoria. Rebecca’s is dedication to advancing the fields of architecture and to active involvement in government professional participation underlines her commitment to the growth and development of the architectural community. So, Rebecca will be helping me with today's presentation and she'll be looking at the second half of the presentation. For those of you that don't know me, my name's Emma Templeton and I am also a co-convenor for the Registration Board Victoria.

I have my own practice also and I'm involved in education through the university systems.

The purpose of today's webinar is all about the architect agreements that we all and the client architect agreement and also the partial services component, which seems to be growing in regularity to be honest, in this environment. So we're hoping today that we'll get through a module that will cover in terms of the practice, the practice management and professional conduct, the project initiation and conceptual design and the design delivery and construction phases of the, what’s the word I’m looking for.

I'll come back to it. By the end of this one hour module participants will understand the importance of client architect agreements, understand how when to vary a client architect agreement, and the risks of better practice when architects are engaged for partial services. Taking an interactive assessment will allow Spence to claim one formal CPD points, which require you to undertake some questionnaires during this presentation and a statement of completion will be emailed to participants at the completion of this module.

And so in this first section of the webinar, we're going to talk about why client architect agreements are important, architects responsibilities, which components and under the Act and Code of conduct, the importance of communication, the recourse when it's applied. And just talk about a couple of scenarios that have been.

Things that have come up in terms of the job is involvement with architects and client disputes. So we'll start with what is a client architect agreement and why it's important.

The success of a construction project is likely to depend heavily on the client architect relationship and a positive client architect relationship typically ensures that a client's core concerns are addressed and communicated clearly throughout process. These concerns are likely to include the regular things like time, budgets and of course being built in accordance to the specification. And I guess with budget, it doesn't just it's a project budget, the whole budget, how the architect's professional fees impact and as well as the construction costs. In the experience of the registration board, the majority of complaints regarding architect's service, mainly concerning residential projects, could have been avoided through better communication.

And if the client had a more detailed understanding of what to expect from an architect providing services and the client Architect agreement is one of the first steps in creating a positive and clear communication with the clients, resulting in a better client relationship. And the importance of this is reflected in the regulatory requirements in Victoria. As architects, we're all working under a regulatory code within the ACT, the Code of Professional Conduct, and in Victoria this code of professional conduct includes these requirements.

A written client architect agreement, clients must discharge their obligations diligently and promptly, and architects must keep clients informed and respond with reasonable promptness to client requests for information. These regulatory requirements are designed to ensure that the client relationship is well managed.

This is directly taken from the code of Conduct, and I'll probably go into that more as a summary. But as our duty under the Act and under the Code of Conduct clause 4, an architect must not provide architectural service unless the architect or approved partnership or company

has entered into a written agreement with the client for the provision of services. Okay. And then the agreement has to include the following things, the parties to the agreement, the name and registration number and contact details of the architect responsible for those services, the scope, nature and specific requirements of the services, the time frame for providing the services, how the professional fees and costs will be calculated where possible

reasonable estimates and disbursements. How professional fees and costs, including disbursements, will be paid. How the architect may inform the client of progress in the provision of those services, and how the architect may authorise the architect about how the client might authorise the architect proceed, proceed that services or any part of services. It's also a requirement that the architect must inform the client of how a change or amendment to services will affect the professional fees or costs of the service.

How the architect may obtain the client's authority to change or amend a service. How variations to the agreement may be made, a reservation of the right of an architect to withdraw from the provision of services under the clause 14, and how the agreement may be terminated and from what reasons a subclause applies to the agreement for the provision of architectural services entered into by an architect or company.

But that's quite a is quite a lot of responsibility that needs to be condensed into a user friendly document that covers and protects both the consumer, your client and the architect. it just will come to the next page. So I'm a written client architect agreement is it is a requirement. The scope, nature and specific requirements of the architectural services should be outlined and this is where it comes down.

And we'll talk much more about partial services, full services, and how all of these different types of services that we provide, which we'll have a look at, might be charged at different in different ways time frames for providing these services. Terrifying, but to provide a design service and how how likely each stage is going to take and I know this a number of you will be nervous about how you predict such things for the clients having such control, but some sort of estimate and disclaimers in the time frames providing services is a requirement.

The manner in which the professional fees and costs of service would be calculated, which if you're talking about a percentage fee and then some services at an hourly rate. So it's quite a detailed analysis of how you would be charging for that and the way you would inform a client of progress regarding the provision of services that almost a lot of architects would work in a similar way in terms of the percentage of work's completion, how that would be communicated with the client and the requirement of an architect.

It's a requirement that the architect must inform the client how a change or amendment to the services will affect professional fees, and costs for services. I know that most of you will have had to work with scope creep, or escalations of costs during these really challenging few years, and it doesn't seem like it's getting any easier very quickly.

And so those amendments to services, how that's communicated and how the professional fees for time delays for instance, are really important to be spelt out in this agreement. How the agreement may be terminated and for what reason, and the correct information, including the registration number, which is something that's sometimes neglected to be included, and a signature. it's clearly so the important part of this that a failure to comply with clause four of the code of conduct is an automatic breach of the act.

So we have a really challenging job to try and work on quite long relationships that have a fee structure that spans a long period of time and timeframes that are harder to control unless you're pulling them into smaller chunks of the services provided and an approval process that requires either your client or other authorities to make those timeframes work.

So the clarity with which the fee of the the client architect agreement sets these things out is really kicking off how your relationship and communication works with the client.

And so it's really important that the professional face isolate, isolated separately and the disbursements are covered as well. So that that's not a surprise. The last thing clients like are surprises with professional fees how the architect may inform the client of those that progress will go to a performer in a minute on that how the authorisation might take place in order to proceed with the next stage of the service.

That's a common issue as to moving onto a stage before a client agrees that it is complete. So how that process may take place. So it's clear from the outset. amendments to services. So again comes back to additions or scope creep.

Changes to the scope and how we communicate those back to the client rather than just being absorbed by the original service agreement and we'll just go right to this. And then I've also just listed here a number of additional services, but are sometimes not included or sometimes at a more increasingly isolated from your lump sum or traditional percentage fees as some of the regulations become more difficult to predict in terms of time and requirements.

So the handling of additional services in the associated fees report, and consents the dispensations to building regulations, which has become much more common even in the residential sector since a lot of the building surveying work's been taken out of the planning process and it can be a very time consuming process. So that might be separated and would need to be clearly explained if it was all and a client architect agreement, amendments to building permits or stage building permits, if that's requested, and how that would be charged separately, town planning services, applications and negotiation.

So often I know architects generally will charge an hourly rate once the town planning submission has been submitted for all of the additional work that might be required to submit that submission date, contact to selection, construction and post occupancy consultations. So whether those things are included or if they're seen as additional services, neighbour negotiations and protection works against are included or an additional service performance based solution is value management and often interior design services such as soft furnishings.

Etc.. So which entails.

And so this is just an example, because one of the things that's for the client is a surprise and variations are surprise and often, unless communicated well, can be assumed to be part of your the service you originally agreed with agreed to or the scope said the acumen has a scope of service variation which is really helpful document to identify what the variation is, whether that might be an addition to the scope or whether it's a staged permit.

However, that variation is it summarizes the reasons, provides the costing basis for future basis, and advises any programming implications into budget implications and provides a really clear record of communication. This would help inform if this is how it's going to, this is how you intend to communicate a variation to service, and that would need to be clearly identified in the original.

Client Architect agreement.

I feel like every time we do a webinar, we talk about communication as the most important consideration and there's good reason for it, but it takes capacity to meet the client's expectations. Is is often difficult, and the capacity of an exact meter depends on some factors and are not always controlled by the architect. It might be the type of client, it might be the type of project or it could be the contract with you with which the architectural services are sought.

So we can be engaged by owners and users to small residential buildings that have very little knowledge or sophistication around the construction industry. Or we could be engaged by developers. So builders have very different requirements in multi-story or residential, and that will affect how much how that final architect agreement works and how how much control you also have over it.

So the degree of knowledge and sophistication, the motivations and perspectives of the clients are likely to differ in each of those contexts. And this is where the challenge of that profession is that we need to be able to manage each of those specific situations. And managing those differences and expectations is one of the challenges of the profession. However, communication is often the key to establishing and maintaining a good client architect relationship and avoiding conflict.

A survey taken by the AIA in 21 clients rated effective communication is the most important factor in their relationship with their architect. So for me that means that a lot of the time conflicts can be avoided through.

Communication. And from the outset, if you've got a clear document that outlines all of this, the way the process is going to be managed and you've got a really good backstop to rely on as you go through the process and questions come through. Sorry I can see people are in the chat. I will have a look at that in a moment, or Bec might have already looked at it, I'll get through a bit longer and I'll come back to you.

And so clients access to recourse if there's a breach. So if your client architect agreement or if the provision of services is considered, the client considers worth reporting. The ARBV is able to receive and consider complaints made by great clients about architects. So if it's if the ARBV then decides to refer it to a tribunal as a result of the inquiry to the act, one of these following determinations can happen.

So if your architect agreement, client agreement doesn't have all those requirements that are in our code of conduct, this is where it could land. So you could get a caution and you could get a reprimand. You could be asked to undertake further education.

Or to impose a conditional limitation on your registration to impose a penalty not exceeding 50 points. So that's a financial penalty. That's a state government unit. And I think that maximums around $10,000. to suspend, I should say the architects registration for the periods stated on the determination and to cancel the architect's registration and make any determination as to constitute the team as it thinks fit.

So it's got a reasonable power to apply should you find yourself in breach of this, of the code of contact or the act. So in terms of trying to create a watertight client architect agreement, and many architects do prefer to create their own client architect agreements for whatever reasons because of the specific clauses they want to include or because they find that they can do.

It's more personal in their approach. We don't really have time today to cover this in detail. And also, I'm probably not qualified, but we would encourage you strongly to seek legal advice when you're creating a bespoke agreement. Alternatively, there are a number of client architect agreement templates available for you as is the one produced by the AIA, which I think most of you would be aware of.

Architeam have recently great written their client agreement. And the ACA has also got a short form architect agreement that's worth having a look at it for you’re members of that.

That all have been designed to be compliant with your responsibilities Under the Act.

So in terms of the ARBV and what they receive in terms of compliance or some of these are just thrown together over a number of years, one of the one of the problems is when we hear about an oral agreement. So in the given scenario, there's various instances where the responsibilities and expectations between the client and architect are unclear, leading to confusion of potential problems.

We'll break down each scenario and discuss the possible issues. So in scenario one, there was an oral agreement without intensive engagement undertaken to and in this case I think it was a extension to a house. There was a lack of clarity regarding the roles and responsibilities, roles and responsibilities of the client and architect as a result of the no written terms of engagement and where where the response, where the

Client's role and the architect role divided. The project came to a halt due to an expired permit, which is a planning permit, and both parties blamed each other for the responsibility to seek an extension. And so this this broke down the relationship entirely. And I guess it's interesting to look at those oral agreements, which can often be with people that you know, and you don't take the formal steps to avoid these things.

So it's important to have a written terms of engagement that clearly defined the scope of work's responsibilities and project management aspects of the project. The architect should be mindful that the client may be inexperienced and provide guidance accordingly and I.

guess the issue with these oral agreements that might come up from time to time is that they are usually with clients that have varying experience, in which case this sort of failure of the professional role that the architects takes. Okay.

We're up to the question. One of the questions, I think we have four questions today. So true or false, the architect must inform the client on how a change, has gone up in the middle of my screen, how a change or amendment to the services will affect professional fees. We'll give you a few seconds to complete that, because I think it'll come up on your screen.

We'll have a quick look at the chat. Okay. Except for one moment.

We've got another scenario.

I have a couple. Okay.

And some of these no formal agreement scenarios happen when there's inappropriate client architecture relationships, for want of a better description by the architects engaged potentially by family or friends, a neighbour or something like that, without adequate client architect agreements, roles and responsibility. So the client is not aware of the responsibilities usually carried out by the architect. Again, we're talking about an unsophisticated client in this case leading to delays and issues with relevant applications.

So expectations are not even set out from the outset. So it's always going to be difficult then to to be able to manage that expectation and timeframes and even the costs. So even when assisting friends or family, it's essential to have a formal agreement and clearly define the scope of works and responsibilities. Architect should consider using the architect clients experiment for their own protection as much as to ensure the clarity of their working relationship.

So I've got another question for you here, which is an architect, pursuant to the clause four of the Victorian Architect's Code of Conduct must clearly identify how agreement may be terminated. And this gets more complicated when we take on partial r limited services. And so sorry Bec, I'm not sure if I'm touching it, so I'm going to hand over to Rebecca to talk about partial services.

And should we get time at the end? Rebecca, I’m on exactly to the half hour, we will come back to your questions.

Thank you. Emma So I have been through some of the questions and I think I'm going to be able to pick up on answering some of those as we go through the content on partial limited services. So today we're going to be focusing on understanding what is actually considered a partial service, the key considerations, risks and mitigation and just a few scenarios similar to what Emma went through with her presentation.

So as Emma did introduce, there is an increasing prevalence of partial services engagements in in architecture. Clients are seeking to engage an architect to provide partial services for a variety of reasons. One of them just being for a feasibility study, say to assess the viability of a project. It might be to prepare drawings for the sale of a property.

Even they might be for design only for documentation, only taking on the work of a former architect or former building designer for design and documentation, namely for partial contract administration. So as you'd be familiar with DNC or innovation and the architect is engaged as secondary or sub consultant to a primary consultant, which we're seeing a lot more in what could be a PPP and initial stages with reduced services to avoid the fees for full service as part of the selection process.

So this is really an important point that all of the services that are nominated on a standard client architect agreement and we'll say the institutes that they are recognised as full services. As soon as you start removing those services for any reason, whether it to be to reduce your fee, which is the common common need to reduce it, to be able to provide a service.

You are in fact providing limited or partial services. So there is a contract that you might or short form. It used to be called that Emma didn't list in hers. It's the client agreement by the Institute of Architects for Limited Services, and these are some words from Acumen that describe this particular contract. They claim being the Institute that most institute standard form contracts are unsuitable unless administered by a contract by an architect and down here that it is not suitable or direct alternative to the full contract.

It is for limited engagements with low value and low complexity, and there has been a perception that a prospective client will be more receptive of a shorter form for for a smaller project. However, the longer form provides just a better platform for customisation and for protecting the architect. So some key considerations here in partial service engagements. So fee negotiation and structuring of the partial services, it might include all of the stages of a traditional agreement with reduced deliverables.

There is a, we're going to be banging on about clear and concise communication alot, today, because we know what problems and what what is reported to the registration board. And it really is about clarity in communication. Having a very clear client architect agreement and consider using the full agreement. A full agreement and striking through deliverables for the services that you're not offering and then that still protects you in that that small the small fine print limitation of liability insurance considerations.

It is important that in your fee proposal, or when you are meeting with your prospective client, that you discuss the limitations that may be applied to your services. Legal limitations very early on at the outset, because later on we don't really it's not appreciated when they're a surprise. And I'll be going through a little bit of wording about how you might be able to to communicate that better with the client, with the client architect agreement always referred back to the client, architect agreement, and to make sure that you're not in breach of your obligations.

Another item of consideration here is withdrawal of license. And as a clause in case there is a breach, what does constitute a breech? It's a nonpayment by the client and unauthorised design changes and alternative site usage. So we all familiar with the copyright that the architect retains copyright unless it's renegotiated, otherwise architect. And then the client has the license to build that design once on any particular site so that there is real commercial value in, in a license to be discussed a little bit further with addressing copyright and more rights.

When you are in partial services, there is potential that a design is not executed as the design was intended, and these are considerations when you are discussing a handing over design for documentation by another party to construction site Stage services by another party, you may not have any involvement in construction. And this is problematic because the construction stage might actually be administered by a person who is professionally not qualified for administration, and they just don't understand the design intent.

And also, we're just going to have a touch on partial service during the construction stage and certification and limiting limitations and liability in certification. So chronologically, let's just start with feasibility. You might be engaged just a feasibility or predesign, just design or documentation. Yes, you still need to have a client architect agreement. The terms of that agreement in relationship as a relation to the license granted to the client must be very clear.

If they're unclear that is a breach of your obligations. The limitation of liability regarding compliance with building or planning codes being clear on the purpose of the documents the architect is provided. So if you're only providing documentation to a particular stage, you need to be very clear that perhaps they're not they're not going to be fit for construction.

Most likely they won’t if it's a feasibility study, amendments to the design without the architect's consent is an issue. There may be no opportunity to correct any errors or omissions during construction. You, as the architect, may have no recourse on substitutions that the builder might make. You could request to have inspections during construction. However, if accepted without limitations and being very clear with the client, you expose yourself to full liability.

Just as if you had been engaged for full contract administration coming back to that contract administrator and not being experienced or qualified in terms of potentially a project manager and always seek advice from your professional indemnity insurer. They love a phone call. and they don't want you to be going through any pain or suffering too. So just give them a call to qualify.

So this really stands out to me as being an important point, is that the architects documentation of the building normally describes the end result, not the means of achieving that result. The responsibility for construction methods rests with the contractor. So if the architect is not involved in construction, then there's a missing link somewhere. If the services exclude contract administration completely, you should write to the client and recommend that inspection during construction stage is carried out by a competent, experienced, independent inspector.

And quite often I know through my experience there's a conversation about a meeting, construction, state or contract admin from our services, because there's a fee involved in that and they'd rather put my fee into buying or upgrading the stone bench top on their island bench. The problem here is that then the client, and especially if it starts becoming a more complex project, isn't going to be experienced enough.

And probably will find themselves with a bucket full of variations that they aren't able to assess. Advise the client issues will need to be addressed during construction to assist the contractor in completing works. So I do hear a lot about design and construct contracts where there is provision for an architect to provide advice during construction and it's something to be very, very wary of, even if it's to design only your fee proposal.

And your agreement should provide a clear statement. Something along the lines of the architectural services offer design only a specific preliminary schematic indicative. The design drawings are not suitable for building approval or for construction purposes. They can go on everything to the point that you're actually completed full documentation. You are applying for your building permit. If the architect is engaged for partial construction stage services.

This is something that we've taken as a snippet from Acumen during monthly site attendances the architect's duty will be to confer with the builder and client to answer specific questions regarding design problems or concerning the documents put to them by the builder. And the architect will inspect such items of work specifically referred to them by the builder and the client only because the builder is responsible for the superintendence of the work.

The architect has no obligation or duty to ensure that the construction work is in accordance with the contract documents, and there is no general duty cast on the architect to supervise or inspect, or generally to observe the progress of the works. So jumping to the other end, construction stage services only if you are considering taking on a project from another architect or or another building design, it's important that you provide within your fee agreement and calculations adequate time to inspect the documents prior to calling a tenders or contract negotiation.

The documents in Sorry, you need to examine the product to make sure that it can confirm that it means meets the intended purpose. Coordination, ensure each party knows who is doing what. And that's really important in some when you are acting as the subcontractor or some consultant consultation, which I've just confirmed, that consultation between primary and secondary consultants make this clear Who is coordinating knowledge from authorities, how it has the information shared.

And I know now there are platforms such as Aconex which make it easy to share information, but it's really important to have a clear on who will be, how it's going to be shared, how will the architect be acknowledged perhaps in signage, how will they be attributed in a magazine? Architects should not give away their intellectual property without appropriate consideration, and in quite often in cases where the action is only at the front end design or only in the back end, let's say there are two consultants in.

In most cases both will own the copyright jointly as a default certification and subcontract as secondary consultant engagements. So architects may be asked to state that the project is constructed in accordance with the contract documentation Contract documents. Even though the architect has not undertake undertaken the contract administration and may visit the site infrequently. And we hear this a lot in registration interviews about NDC and novation, it almost sounds as though the candidates are actually undertaking the tasks that are normal to contract administration services of an architect, and they're asked to confirm that the building work complies with all codes and standards.

We can strongly recommend that architects avoid any situation like that where they're asked to certify where they haven't been involved in full services. When providing a certificate, which is in essence a guarantee, it can expose the architect to litigation. So certification and subcontractor or secondary consultant engagement. So only in instances where you are, where it is written into your agreement that you will be certifying only provide a certificate.

If you have that obligation, always ask yourself, can I honestly make this statement that I'm being asked to make? Do I have all the information and all the expertise I need to have to make the statement? And if the answer is no, you just don't make the statement, only provide certificates addressed to and in favour of your client and don't provide copies to third parties.

Include a disclaimer in your certificate stating that you accept no liability to any third party who might may try to rely, rely on the certificate and get legal advice on the appropriate wording. Only allowed senior staff to provide and sign off on certificates, and what's important is also agreeing to the wording of a certificate before you start work.

And this also comes back to what Emma had shown, which was that instruction for variation to the architectural services. There is a recommendation to provide a copy of that. When you do provide your client architect agreement to your client so they can clearly see how to vary the scope. So just a little bit of a run through on fee calculations and agreements, just some guidance when you are working with partial services because those responsibilities and who they lie with will have a quite a profound effect on your fee.

So who's in control of and attendance at meetings? What is the procedure and responsibility for variations? That's already for giving instructions to the contractor arrangements for issuing certificates? What are the fees, terms and methods of payments, and are they clients specifically acting as stable or secondary consultant? What are the travel expenses and other reimbursements? Evidence of professional indemnity insurance is held by all consultants.

If in doubt of the adequacy of insurance held by others. Ask your broker for some advice. Be clear on the copyright ownership and how the moral rights of the authors of the designs are to be attributed and managed. If the primary consultant as agent for the client appoints the architect as a secondary consultant to the client, the primary consultant should be asked to obtain a letter from the client agreeing to the appointment and to the relevant conditions outlined above, similar to how you would if you were seeking a services from another sub consultant or secondary consultant such as an engineer.

One of the problems which I mentioned briefly before about partial services is quite often they are requested to lower the fees. There has been a conversation about fee cutting or slashing or whatever one may want to refer to it, but it is a reality that that lower fees can sometimes win projects. And when the cost of money is so expensive to borrow right now, fees and pricing for architectural services are paramount.

There is no nothing to be mistaken about fees, lower fees result in a lower level of service, and that doesn't mean a lower quality of service. It just means that potentially a lower amount of deliverables, it often no results in a temptation to reduce time required to design and documents project, resulting in a higher chance of litigation. So address the challenges of low fees in architectural services.

Clearly defining that scope in the architect client architect agreement. Specify that time period of the service provision of any additional fees for extended durations, outline the engagement and payment terms of secondary consults. The consultants state the number of design options to be prepared during a design stage. We also list the amount of meetings per stage as well, so it is a limitation on those and any design meetings required after that would be charged at a particular rate. set clear terms for the client architect agreement and progress fee payments and consider a lump sum fee in certain market conditions for both parties.

Benefit. Using appropriate language. So in my professional opinion, or to the best of my knowledge, information belief at the commencement of your certificates could be used. This is impartial services when engaged for construction stage services. Preface any otherwise absolute statement by reference to limitations on your assessment, such as based my periodic observations at the site and in accordance with my last visit on the site stage.

at most that the building work is substantially or generally compliant with the design intent very synonymous with approval of shop drawings. There will be always construction details that are above and beyond your ability to observe not being present on the site often, especially. if you must certify that any work complies with the specific document. Make Sure, it is a document that is known to you, such as your own contract documents, rather than a vague or unknown standard such as the client's requirements or the requirements of the head contract.

I'm going to skip this one here because we went through it a little bit earlier, but just a couple of scenarios, just mindful of time, no contract administration engagements. So there was in this case, there was inadequate sharing of documentation. The client, the architect, wasn't engaged construction or contract. I mean, the client was discussing and providing information directly with the contractor and not providing any of this information to the client as to the architect.

So there was an error in the architect's drawings because they weren't aware of this particular piece of information. And then there was a dispute due to the error between the client and the architect. So having that discussion with your prospective client and your client throughout the process have affected communication and collaboration. The architect should also emphasise the importance of sharing all relevant documentation to avoid misunderstandings and ensure the hierarchy of documents is clearly explained to the client and the builder.

So the architectural specification takes precedence in this scenario. The second scenario idea is design and contract documentation only is a separate engagement for design and construction documentation. The issue here is that the client expects to an architect to undertake a construction as a contract administration activities, even though it was not part of the architect's engagement. The impact confusion, the potential conflicts arise is the client who is not qualified or skilled in the in contract administration, expects the architecture then perform those duties, even though they're not formally engaged to do so.

And the lesson here is again clear communication essential to manage expectations. If the architect is not responsible for contract administration, it should be explicitly stated in the engagement agreement, and the architect should be made aware of the limitations of the architect's role. So we're going to have another poll here. True or false design and construct contracts, limit the architect's liability as the architect is not responsible for certification.

this Poll is closing shortly. Here we go. Right. And so I need to do I need to talk to this one over the answer so that the sneaky wording of this particular is reminiscent of doing registration. And the word is the architect is not responsible for certification, while the architect might be responsible for certification and it all depends on the agreement in place and we'll start off with this next Poll if the architect is only engaged for advice during the construction stage, they cannot report discrepancies in the quality of a build.

The client. Okay, so the answer there is false. So they can and it's and I think the terminology and perhaps a whistleblower clause could be incorporated into the agreement. But there's many ways that an architect now can modify or be participate in construction stage services, not as contract administrator and be able to report discrepancies in the quality of the built to the client.

Oh, sorry. So in summary, architect should be mindful of their responsibilities regarding their agreement, provide guidance to inexperienced clients and establish clear boundaries to avoid confusion and potential problems throughout the project. Communicate clearly and don't avoid difficult discussions for communication. Can compromise the client architect relationships. prior to architectural services commencing adopt a comprehensive client architect agreement that contains the detailed scope of services fees and how the parties will manage variations and not to forget all of the items from the Victorian Code of Conduct Emma listed earlier.

Collaborate with your professional indemnity insurers and legal experts on seeking advice. Importance of preserving copyright and moral rights with your designs are vary the client architect agreement with appropriate information and approach at appropriate times. As a bit of rule of thumb, you might said, if the project budget increases by 5%, that will trigger a variation, but that there's no real guidelines.

But you need to use your own intuition on what is feeling like extensive scope creep and what might trigger a variation. Ensure you obtain the client's written approval of the drawings before proceeding to the next stage and provide clients with written correspondence that summarises all verbal conversations and from a regulatory perspective from the registration board, Architects should also be cognisant of reducing the risk of being in breach of their professional conduct obligations.

In regards to the Victorian Code of Conduct. So we had quite a few questions here, but I'm going to ask Emma to join me and see if we can.

Emma: Thank you for that Rebecca.

Emma:I liked the first one which talked about reasonable promptness, which I think is um It's a relevant question to ask what's reasonable and it would be assessed in that sort of tribunal kind of assessment of what was unreasonable. I mean, I have my own rule of thumb that one should respond to a client email within 72 hours.

Emma: That's my own research. But I think that some of that reasonableness comes down to how your timing frames and the number of meetings and the stage of the project. So it's really hard to respond to that over the whole duration and journey of an architectural project. Whereas, you know, once you're into a contract situation, you've got some terms to work with.

Emma: But that's very different when applied to a design stage of the project. Not sure if that will have helped the anonymous person that asked that question, Do you want to go to one Bec?

Rebecca: Yeah, I actually, Simon has a good question here. I actually think when they start the time frames. Yeah. I need to do a little bit of digging on this one and in being aware of that, that requirement, we personally had built our time frames into our fee agreements as a fee proposals and we refer to our fee proposals in our client architect agreements that set that up.

Rebecca: But I think we might do a little bit more digging on that one because I know that the Institute are currently reviewing some aspects of their client architect agreement. So watch that space as well.

Emma: Some of us could say that Question, But Simon asked a question about whether the AIA agreement was legal because it doesn't have time frames in it. And I do the same thing as Rebecca um not necessarily specifically for that purpose, but our fee proposal, which we then reference in our client architect agreement, has the timeframes set out in it, but that doesn't answer your question.

Emma: So we'll have to come back to you on that. We are out of time, so I'm not exactly sure how strict the ARBV is going to be with us. I'll just flick through quickly and see

Rebecca: That was.

Emma: A lot of the questions, though. A lot of the questions were around, Do you need a client architect agreement to provide initial services, early services? My understanding, even with a feasibility study, if you're engaged to be paid for your professional service, then you'll need an agreement. Maybe that agreement might be a letter that covers these things in a much more simplified form because your scope of work is also so much more easily defined at that early stage.

Emma: But that would still need to be an agreement that meets those criteria. But I think it's a simpler task soonish. I might say as soon as you are being paid for your professional service, then you would need a client agreement.

Rebecca: In regards to recourse. If a client breaches the client architect agreement, that is, that is VCAT as far as I'm aware. But hopefully there are other strategies that can be employed.

Emma: I was thinking about that one too. And really because we're coming from a consumer protection point of view today with these hats on today, that might be actually something you'd be referring more to the institute or another sort of association. It's going to be more about the architects rights than the and the clients. But yes VCAT

Rebecca: Ultimately. there is a question here about offering if a client requests a copy of CAD files and new IP, and this is also one that I would highly recommend that legal advice be sought, but this is discussed certainly within the Architeam Group. And there is there are several now CAD disclaimer and liability waveforms that are out there in the market that might be worth following up on.

Emma: And we've exceeded our one hour allotment. So thank you everybody for attending. I think this will all be available on the website and we will also try and address these questions in some way. We'll talk to the ARBV on how that would work and that will hopefully see you at the next webinar in the first half of the new financial year.

Emma: Thanks very much for coming.

Rebecca: Thanks everyone.