Our Terms Explained

Depending on the type and scale of a project, we use different standard forms of the RIBA Conditions of Appointment. For most private homeowner customers, it would be RIBA Conditions of Appointment of an Architect for a Domestic project; for commercial clients, we would use either a Concise or a Standard form. You can download the full versions of RIBA terms of appointments below.

Let us have a closer look at some important points.

Download RIBA Domestic Conditions of Appointment Download RIBA Concise Conditions of Appointment Download RIBA Concise Conditions of Appointment

Architect’s standard of care

Under the Conditions of Appointment, we are required to exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence in accordance with the normal standards of the Architect’s profession. This is an essential, yet frequently misunderstood definition. It means that our contractual responsibility is limited to the professional standards that can be reasonably expected from a suitably qualified architect. In other words, whereas we certainly aim to provide the highest level of service, we cannot guarantee that our design would suit all tastes or make you feel happy, nor can we promise a successful outcome of the processes over which we do not have full control (e.g. statutory approvals). Such undertakings would be simply irresponsible, and our insurers would refuse to cover them.

Professional Indemnity Insurance

AR Architecture carries full professional indemnity insurance in accordance with the ARB’s code of practice. Our PI policy is reviewed and renewed annually.

It is important to understand that in the cases where our appointment does not include services at Completion and Handover of the works, we will only be responsible for our design, but would not accept responsibility for any latent defects that might become apparent at a later stage.

Download our current PI insurance certificate

Our fees

Architect’s fees can be either charged as lump sums or on a ‘time basis’. On most projects, we use a combination of both. For the base design services, provided the scope of work can be clearly defined, we offer lump-sum fees typically calculated as a percentage of the building contract value. At the construction stage, as our services may significantly vary and cannot be pre-estimated in advance, we provide them on a pay-as-you-go basis: you are only charged for the actual time it takes us to do the work. Our current hourly rates are always included in the fee proposal. Additional or optional services, if they occur, are usually chargeable on a time basis subject to prior approval by the Client, unless they can be pre-agreed as a lump sum.

Occasionally a client or a third party (e.g. the local authority) may delay the progress of a project, resulting in an extension of the current work stage or a dormant period between the stages. If our input and services are still required during this time, we may have to charge additional fees for such involvement.

Reed more about percentage-based fees Reed more about time-based fees

Payment terms

At the beginning of the project, we would ask you to pay a deposit, usually 20-30% of the total design fee. The remaining design fees are then charged in stages (broken down into monthly payments) from the beginning of the project through to the start of construction. During the construction phase, we charge time-based monthly fees, supported by the detailed record of the time actually spent (also known as ‘time-sheets’).

As professional consultants, we depend on timely payments for the uninterrupted provision of our services to the clients. Our invoices are payable in 7 days; we reserve the right to charge interest on any amounts that remain unpaid after this term.

Expenses / Disbursements

In carrying out our work, we incur certain expenses and disbursements on our client’s behalf that are recharged to the client along with our fees. Examples of re-chargeable expenses are items such as:

  • Statutory fees;
  • Cost of OS planning maps, Land Registry searches etc.;
  • Travel outside of Greater London;
  • Printing over 2 hard copies of each document;
  • International courier deliveries.
  • Liaising with hi-fi, home automation and IT specialist suppliers / sub-contractors

These expenses usually represent a very small proportion of the overall project costs.

Copyright and related issues

The work we produce while providing services to you – drawings, diagrams, specifications, schedules etc. – is our intellectual property protected by a copyright (this includes the moral rights to be identified as the author of our work).

It is important to understand that buying our services you are not buying a product or series of products; equally, paying our fees for producing the design / drawings / specifications etc, you do not acquire the copyright nor do you have the automatic right to use the drawings without our further involvement in the project. Provided that all our fees and disbursements are properly paid, you shall have a licence to copy and use the drawings and documents only for the purposes related to construction, subsequent use or sale of this particular project. The documents may not be used for reproduction of the design, extension of the project or for any other project. We shall not be liable for the consequences of using our documentation for a purpose other than for which they were prepared.

Should you choose to terminate our appointment and yet wish to continue using our design, in these circumstances we would be normally prepared to assign all relevant copyright licenses subject to a one-off fee.

Photography

Photographing our completed schemes is an important aspect of our work which allows us to keep our portfolio and website up to date.

By default, we will assume that we are permitted to photograph the property upon completion of the works. If you would rather not allow photography, please tell us about it at the outset of the project.

Consumer’s right to cancel

Private domestic clients, acting as individuals rather than a company, are Consumers.

A consumer Client has the right to change his or her mind and cancel the contract with an Architect by sending a cancellation notice at any time within 14 days after signing the Appointment.

Termination of the contract between Client and Architect

Our contractual relationships with our clients are largely very successful and of a positive nature. However, from time to time a client may decide that they would like to terminate our appointment for their own reason. If and when such circumstances arise, we endeavour to effect the termination with efficiency and good grace. Of course, we would also like to make sure that before the relationship is formally concluded, all our outstanding and incurred fees are fully settled by the Client.

The most important aspect of a termination process is that the Client and the Architect can continue to communicate and to affect an amicable parting of the ways.

Complaints resolution

We are a RIBA Chartered practice and comply with the Royal Institute of British Architects’ strict criteria covering insurance, health and safety and quality management systems.

All our architects are registered with Architects Registration Board (ARB) and as such work in accordance with the Board’s Code of Conduct.

If you feel that we might have fallen short of the professional standards, please do not hesitate to let us know as soon as possible, and we will do our best to address your concerns. In the highly unlikely event of us failing to do so, you can raise complaints with both organisations.

Download our Complaints Resolution Procedure

Dispute resolutions

The vast majority of our projects are brought to successful completion without any dispute. However, occasionally a disagreement may arise between the builder and the Client or between the Client and the Architect over some aspect of the project. In these circumstances, it is our policy to try hard to resolve the issues amicably, thereby avoiding the escalation of any disagreement. Working in the industry notorious for the easiness with which disputes arise and escalate, we are proud of our reputation and record in minimizing the risks in this respect.

When it seems that we may have reached a ‘stalemate situation’ and unable to resolve a disagreement, we are, as a practice, committed to resolve the situation by means of mediation / arbitration rather than resorting to litigation – a much more productive route with lower costs and a stronger chance of a satisfactory outcome.

Conclusion

We encourage our clients to discuss any aspect of the T&C’s and to seek clarification from us if they have any queries or concerns. We are always willing to discuss your views and talk matters through, in order to reach an agreement regarding the services to be provided and the fee structures relating to those services.

Just before you go…

Why not give us a call or drop a note to arrange a free no-obligation consultation about your project?

And, just in case you feel confused about the process your dream would need to follow to take shape in bricks and mortar – we are happy to guide you through it!


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