before you build

Your Architect: Terms of Appointment

  • Creation Date: Thursday, 09 May 2019

21 April 2019

Whether you want to build a new house, alter or extend your present home, it makes sense to consult with a professional. The professional will need to manage any or all parts of the design and construction process.

Start by building a list of potential Architectural Professionals, which can be an Architect, a Senior Architectural Technologist, a Technologist or a Draughtsperson.

Look at projects in your neighbourhood and find out who designed the houses and get recommendations from your friends, relatives, or acquaintances that have worked with the professionals. Check to see if the professional is a member of the South African Council for the Architectural Profession. Membership in SAIA, SAIAT, GBCSA, SAID and other institutes mean that the professional subscribes to a professional code of ethics and has access to a variety of professional and technical resources.

The South African Council for the Architectural Profession has a recommended scale of fees for Professional Architectural Services, which acts as a guideline to Professionals and Clients alike.

You as a client may go to any registered professional who offers you the architectural service that suits your needs. Ensure they are creative and have the ability to get the project done, as well as the ability to work together with you.

There are 4 Professional categories, each of which relates to a formal qualification, a level of relevant experience and the SACAP Professional Practice exam:

  • The Professional Architect (Pr.Arch)       
  • The Professional Senior Architectural Technologist (Pr.S.Arch.T)
  • The Professional Architectural Technologist (Pr.Arch.T)
  • The Professional Architectural Draughtsperson (Pr.Arch.Draught.)

Once you’ve found a professional of your choice, the professional must set out the terms of appointment in a written agreement, which you both need to sign.

It must include the following:

  1. The scope of work- It can be full or partial service with the following architectural stages of work:

Stage 1: The Professional receive, appraise and report on the Client’s requirements with regard to the brief and budget, the site, project program, the need for consultants and methods of contracting.

Stage 2: Client receives an initial concept design indicating space provisions with proposed materials and intended building services.

Stage 3: The Professional develops the design and construction system and consults with local and statutory authorities.

Stage 4: Professional prepares documentation sufficient for local authority submission and complete construction documentation for tenders.

Stage 5: Contract administration.

Stage 6: Complete the project closeout.

  1. Allocation of responsibility
  1. Limitation of responsibility
  1. The fee or method of calculating it. The cost of a Professional can vary depending on numerous factors including, level of experience, background training, type of building, size of the building, complexity of the building, and the location of the building. The fees can also be based on a percentage of the total construction cost, on time expended, or a lump sum. You can select all or part of a professional’s service, from an initial design discussion through to the final delivery of the project on site.
  1. Provisions of termination

6. Be sure that you ask about Professional Indemnity Insurance. Some Professionals “go bare” and don't have it because the premiums can be very expensive. However, even the most experienced Professionals can make mistakes, so you should make sure that your architect/technologist has liability coverage.

By choosing the right professional for your needs, he/she can interpret your ideas creatively and manage the project professionally providing value for money and peace of mind with a satisfying end result.

Article written by:

Lizl-Mari Sheridan