Practical matters

Working with an architect should be a positive and productive experience

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Whilst it is not necessary for clients to understand the technicalities of architecture, it is helpful for you to have a basic understanding of the role that architects play in a building project.  

You can expect your architect to work with integrity and honesty. In turn, your architect will expect you to be honest with them and provide accurate information relating to the circumstances of the project (regarding ownership rights and boundaries, for example). 

Difficulties can arise when insufficient information has been provided or when there is an incomplete understanding of the architect's role and responsibilities in design, planning and construction processes. Incorrect assumptions in a project can lead to disputes. 

The RIBA has produced guidance notes 'It's useful to know...' as a general guide to:

  • The standards of conduct and competence expected of architects in practice (RIBA Code of Professional Conduct and Guidance Notes).
  • Registration of architects and protection of title in the UK.
  • Architects' usual services in a building project.
  • Resolving disputes, taking legal action and insurance claims.
  • Making a formal complaint.

The guide can be dlownloaded as a whole or in stand-alone sections below:

It's useful to know (PDF - 231kB)

Part 1: Protection of title (PDF - 91kB)

Part 2: Explaining services - (PDF - 123kB)

Part 3: Dispute resolution (PDF - 122kB)

Part 4: Making a complaint (PDF - 122kB)

Please note: the notes are for guidance only. If you need additional legal or other specialist advice, you are recommended to seek professional assistance from an appropriate source. There are contact details throughout the notes and at the end of the document.

Compensation and reparation

The RIBA does not have a compensation fund and has no statutory powers to award damages or order members to refund fees, pay compensation or undertake remedial work.


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