As architects we report directly to the client, and we make enquiries and issue instructions on behalf of the client. Building projects often involve the expertise of other professionals, specialist consultants and specialist suppliers, people such as structural engineers, environmental engineers, quantity surveyors, energy consultants, lighting designers, landscape gardeners etc.

If and when such specialists are needed, we advise the client regarding their involvement – their remit and their terms and conditions – and we integrate them into the ‘project team’.

We coordinate their efforts appropriately and ensure that their input enhances the project as a whole. The engagement of specialist consultants and the payment of their fees is the direct responsibility of the client.

Our responsibilities as architects:

Architects’ responsibilities

To provide our clients with clear advice at the outset of the project, ensuring a good understanding of the salient issues which define the project, such as:

Design responsibilities

  • Likely build costs
  • Time scales
  • Statutory consents
  • Environmental concerns
  • The need to engage others
  • Professional consultants

To establish a firm and agreed brief

To respond to the brief accurately and appropriately

To produce a design scheme which are practical and viable in terms of ‘build-ability’ and which reflect as realistically as possible the agreed budget.

To produce designs for which statutory legislation can be sought i.e. planning consent, listed building consent and building regulations approval.

To apply for planning consent as the appropriate juncture and to monitor the application whilst it is under review by the local authority.

To liaise with any other professional consultants who are engaged on the project e.g. structural engineers. Also to produce all the necessary detailed construction drawings, diagrams, specifications and schedules etc. that enable a building contractor to prepare tendered costs and build the scheme.

To apply for building regulations approval and to liaise with the local authority Building Control Officer or an ‘Approved Inspector’.

To pay attention to health and safety issues and to ensure that the design scheme is respectful of these issues.

To address the concerns and the rights of adjoining neighbours and to exhibit a duty of care to any adjoining or near neighbours.

To advise the clients regarding ‘Party wall’ matters (as and if necessary) and to arrange the appointment of a party wall surveyor to consult and negotiate a party wall agreement with the adjoining neighbours.

To advise clients on the different methods or procuring a building contract. Also to assist the clients with the selection of a suitable building contractor as well as the selection and nomination of any specialist sub-contractors or suppliers.

To instigate the building contract (the contract between the client and the building contractor) and to oversee the building works. To generally monitor the progress and quality of the building works as closely and attentively as is reasonable possible.

To keep the client updated as much as is practically possible regarding the progress of the building works. To involve them, as it becomes necessary, when an important decision has to be made.

To keep the client up-dated in respect of the overall building costs and any variations to the agreed contract costs.

To issue monthly valuations to facilitate regular progress payments from the client to the building contractor, ensuring the smooth progress of the works.

To oversee the final stages of the building project and to assist with the logistics of the handover from builder to client and the client taking up occupation of the completed scheme.

To monitor the final completion of building works, the scheduling of any outstanding items of work and the rectification of any latent defects.

Important considerations

Contractual relationships

The client has a contract with the architect and the architect provides professional services to the client. The client also has contractual relationships with the other professional consultants as recommended by the architect.

The client has a separate contractual relationship with the building contractor.

The building contractor also has contractual relationships with specialist sub-contractors and suppliers.

One important driver in the whole process is that all communication between the client and any of the other parties is channelled through the architect.

Responsibilities for the building works

In a building contract, the architect is responsible for and carries full professional indemnity insurance for all matters relating to architectural design. Likewise, the structural engineer is responsible for all aspects of the structural engineering design.

The building contractor carries full public liability insurance for his building activities and is responsible for the work he executes and the manner in which he does so. It is the building contractor who has the responsibility to carry out building work correctly and in accordance with the design drawing and specification. Architects and structural engineers have a duty to oversee and inspect the work of the contractor and to check that the work is carried out correctly. The overseeing of the work is carried out during regular inspections and is, therefore, not exhaustive. If a client requires continuous and detailed supervision of the work, then as architects, we would recommend that the client employs a ‘clerk of works’ to be on-site at all times or agrees to pay additional fees for Pike & Partners Architects to provide a ‘site architect’.