Any dealing with an architect in a professional capacity, particularly as a client, should be a positive and productive experience. It is not necessary to understand the technicalities of architecture, but it is helpful for those who work with architects to have a basic understanding of the role that they play in a building project.
The Institute expects its members to work with integrity and honesty. In turn, architects will expect their clients to be honest with them and provide accurate information relating to the circumstances of their project (regarding ownership rights and boundaries, for example).
Difficulties can arise when insufficient information has been provided and there is an incomplete understanding of the architect's role and responsibilities in design, planning and construction processes. Incorrect assumptions about the architect's role and duties in a project can lead to disputes.
The Institute has produced a set of notes (which may be downloaded as a whole, entitled, 'It's useful to know...') or in separate, stand-alone sections) 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.
It's useful to know…
1. The foundation and role of the Royal Institute of British Architects
2. Standards of conduct
3. The protection of the title 'architect' in the UK
4. Using an architect
5. Understanding what architects do
6. If there's a problem, talking may help…
7. If more formal action is necessary…
8. A complaint, rather than a resolution
9. Important notice
10. How to decide what to do
11. RIBA Sources of Information
Part 1: Protection of Title
1. The law
2. 'Chartered Architects'
3. What constitutes the practice of 'architecture'
4. Checking RIBA Membership and ARB Registration
6. Maintaining competence
Part 2: Explaining an Architect's Services
Finance and contracts
1. Architects' fees and appointments:
2. Methods of calculating fees
3. Additional fees
4. Estimates of building costs
Statutory approvals and contract administration
6. Planning permission and Building Regulations approval
7. Planning permission - for the design
8. Building Regulations approval - permission to build
9. Building contract administration
10. Monitoring construction
11. Time overruns
12. Other consultants
13. Certificates issued under a building contract
14. Architect's independence
15. Professional Consultant's Certificate
Across the board
17. Reasonable skill and care
18. Requirements under the law
Part 3: Dispute resolution, legal action and negligence claims
1. Establishing RIBA membership and ARB registration
2. What to do first
3. Seeking a resolution
- The RIBA List of Adjudicators
- The President's List of Arbitrators
4. Seeking legal advice and taking legal action
5. Insurance claims
Part 4: Formal complaints
1. Establishing RIBA Membership and registration
2. Formal complaint to the Architects Registration Board
3. Formal complaint to the RIBA
4. The RIBA complaints investigation procedure
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 complete document 'It's useful to know...'.
Compensation and reparation
The Institute does not have a compensation fund and has no authority (i.e. statutory powers) to award damages or order members to refund fees, pay compensation or undertake remedial work.