The Engagement of an Architect
Any business or professional relationship is bound to be most successful and rewarding when there exists a clear understanding of the expectations of the parties. The relationship between client and architect is no exception. This step-by-step guide can help you reach this understanding in building projects.
Step 1 - Architect selection
Try to select your architect on the basis of his ability to provide the required services at a professional standard of quality, not on the basis of fees. Remember that the architectural fees represent such a minute portion of the overall investment you are making over the lifetime of your project.
Step 2 - Scope of services
After successfully completing the selection of your architect, you both will have to jointly review and define the scope of work and overall parameters of the project. The success of a project will depend directly upon the proper identification of the scope of work.
Step 3 - Detailed Task List
Your architect should develop and submit a detailed work plan, also called ‘Detailed Task List’, setting out each of the services you agree will be provided. The use of a Detailed Task List can facilitate the development of the scope of services and fees.
Step 4 - Fee Proposal
Your architect will then prepare and submit a fee proposal for review, stating the fee necessary to provide the range of services you will require.
Step 5 - Negotiation
If you feel the fee is not manageable for you, you and your architect can discuss eliminating services, and reducing the fee, until it is acceptable. While it may be tempting to simply continue to reduce levels of service in order to bring down the fee, remember that it is in your ultimate best interest to make sure your architect will be able to provide the necessary level of service to protect you and your investment, and meet the standards of service established by the profession.
Step 6 - Contract
Once you have established the scope of services which your architect will provide, the fee which you will pay him, and the other responsibilities each one will have related to the project, put it in writing. Your architect can draft the agreement based on your negotiations and discussions.
Normally, the contract will include the services provided, the fee for those services, the client responsibilities, and the terms and conditions which govern the contract. In addition to identifying the value and contribution of both parties, the contract should be a balanced document, treating both parties fairly.
Carefully review each clause to ensure that you understand the details, and clarify any miscommunication. You can obtain legal advice at your option before formally execute the agreement to start your project.
Daniel Trujillano, architectural services in Costa del Sol