Your architect's role in the building process

Once you have selected your contractor, your architect can help with the preparation of a contract, which will in most cases be a standard version of the JBCC 2000 (Joint Building Contracts Committee) series depending on the type of project you are undertaking. Many other building contracts exist but are usually heavily loaded in the contractor’s favour.  A JBCC contract will also ensure that the appropriate methods of dispute resolution are open to you.

Starting Construction: Site works will begin after the official site handover meeting between your architect (acting as your agent) and the contractor. Your architect will spell out the quality of work expected and monitor the progress on site at regular intervals, which usually alternates as inspections and formal site meetings.  Your architect will check the contractor’s schedule and can in some circumstances allow time extensions. It is very important that all instructions are given through your architect to the contractor.  This will ensure both efficient co-ordination and cost control.

Payment Certificates: Throughout the construction process your architect will assess the progress of the work on site and issue payment certificates.  This usually takes place once a month.  It is important that you only pay for the value of work done and materials on site. Your architect will issue the certificate to the contractor who will in turn claim from you, the developer.

Variations: By thoroughly defining the work to be done in the working drawings, your architect has avoided many areas of confusion which usually lead to variations.  However a few may still exist.  A “variation” is any deviation from the original contract.  Some unethical contractors give low tender prices in the hope of recouping their costs by claiming many variations. When variations do arise, your architect will mediate between you and the contractor to reduce the impact, cost and time.

Completion: Your architect will issue a certificate of completion when the building is ready to be used by you.  This also marks the start of the three month latent defects liability period during which an amount of money is retained by you to provide safeguards against defects arising after the building work is completed. In the case of a new building, the contractor will not be responsible for the insurance of the building after practical completion; this is the owner’s responsibility.

Defects Liability Period: During a period after the work is completed, the contractor will remain liable under the terms of the contract to remedy any defect in workmanship and materials which may become apparent.  Your architect assists by noting these defects and issuing instruction for their correction.  This must be attended to before the works completion certificate is issued.

With the issue of the final certificate, your architect’s services will be complete.

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