An architect plays an important role in execution of a building contract.

. In Hudson’s Building and Engineering Contracts at page 243, it is stated:

“An architect is a person, who professes skill in the art of designing buildings to meet his client’s need, in the organization of the contractual arrangements for their construction, and in the supervision of work and contractual, administration until final completion. So a major part of an architect’s activities will be concerned with the preparation of contracts, the obtaining and recommending for acceptance of estimates from builders, the selection of specialist contractors, the inspection of work carried out, the solution of difficulties encountered during the course of erecting the building, condemning and dealing with defective work, the issue of certificates under the terms of the contract and advising or ruling on disputes between the owner and the contractor. Thus it will be seen that although it is the primary and vital function of the architect to create new ideas of amenity and design and to set down those ideas on a drawing-board, his duties extend far into other fields of technical knowledge and business management. On the other hand, while he will Remain primarily responsible to the owner for all matters of design, modern techniques of construction and specialized building products and processes in fact demand expertise and skill for which he will inevitably not always be personally qualified. The employment of outside consultants or the less satisfactory (from the legal point of view if the employer’s interest is to be properly protected) device of delegating important design functions to specialist and sub-contractors and suppliers, are therefore a frequent and inevitable accompaniment of many major building projects but as will be seen, the architect is the “captain of the ship” and will be the person to whom the owner will normally look if a design failure occurs, though in some, but not all, cases he will adequately discharge his own overall responsibility if he exercises due professional care in referring matters outside his own expertise to a consultant or specialist supplier or contractor, particularly if these latter are engaged on behalf of the owner and not by the architect himself.”

 An Architect has, thus, various roles to play including independently ruling on disputes between the owner and the contractor.

 In R. v. Architects’ Registration Tribunal, ex. P. Jaggar [1945] 2 All ER 131, it is stated:

“An architect is one who possesses, with due regard to aesthetic as well as practical consideration, adequate skill and knowledge to enable him (i) to originate, (ii) to design and plan, (iii) to arrange for and supervise, the erection of such buildings or other works calling for skill in design and planning as he might in the course of his business reasonably be asked to carry out or in respect of which he offers his services as a specialist.”

An architect has a great role to play in making an estimate. He is expected to neither under-estimate nor can over-estimate value of the works, He is bound by his conduct to the owner. He can be sued for his negligence. For his misconduct, fees payable to him may be forfeited. He may incur other liabilities not only under the contract but also under statute.


Categories: CIVIL