Last edited 22 Jan 2018

Appointing an architect

See also: Hiring an architect as a domestic client.


[edit] Introduction

The process of designing and constructing a building is often an expensive and time-consuming undertaking. Most projects will benefit from hiring an architect and/or other professionals at any early stage.

Architects are able to apply their impartiality and creativity when thinking about how to plan a new building, or adapt or expand an existing one. They can help to support the client’s strategic decision-making, carry out feasibility studies, and help develop a project brief.

Very broadly, the roles performed by an architect might include:

Some services will only be undertaken by an architect if they are specifically identified in their appointment documents, and otherwise may not be included within the fee. These are described as 'other services' on some forms of appointment.

[edit] Finding an architect

Architects may be selected by a process of:

Search engines are available from the RIBA to help find architects:

[edit] ARB

The term ‘architect’ is protected by the Architects Act 1997. Only qualified individuals that are registered with the ARB can offer their services as architects. However, the same services can be provided by people that are not architects as long as they do not claim to be architects.

The Architects Registration Board code of conduct requires that there is a written agreement before undertaking work which adequately covers:

  • The contracting parties.
  • The scope of the work.
  • The fee or method of calculating it.
  • Who will be responsible for what.
  • Any constraints or limitations on the responsibilities of the parties.
  • The provisions for suspension or termination of the agreement, including any legal rights of cancellation.
  • Confirmation of adequate and appropriate insurance cover.
  • The existence of any Alternative Dispute Resolution schemes that the contract is subject to and how they might be accessed.
  • Details of the architect’s complaints-handling procedure.
  • Confirmation that the architect is registered with the Architects Registration Board and that they are subject to the code.

[edit] Architect's obligations

The architect has a duty of care:

  • To exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence in accordance with the normal standards of the architects profession in performing the services and discharging the architects obligations.
  • Provide adequate professional, financial and technical resources.
  • A duty of care in tort.

A duty to inform:



[edit] Standard forms of appointment

There are a range of standard forms of appointment available:

If a bespoke agreement is used:

[edit] Fees

For more information, see Architects fees.

[edit] Find out more

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki