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RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract 2020: Architectural Services

The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract is an appointment contract for architectural services for domestic projects of any value.

The new 2020 edition of the RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract has been fully updated to align with the revised RIBA Plan of Work and is for the appointment of an architect or consultant where the architect/consultant undertakes a commission for architectural services for simple, domestic projects of any value, in which the building works will be carried out using a traditional form of building contract, such as the RIBA Domestic Building Contract.

The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract has been prepared in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and is an agreement between an architect/consultant and a consumer client relating to work to the client’s own home, including renovations, extensions, maintenance and new buildings, provided that the client has elected to enter into the agreement in their own name, i.e. not as a limited company or legal entity or where the property will be let.

Under the CDM Regulations 2015, on projects with more than one contractor, a principal designer must be appointed to plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project, and the RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract has the option for the architect/consultant to be appointed as the principal designer. On domestic projects (projects for a consumer client), if the client does not appoint a principal designer, the designer in control of the pre-construction phase of the project is deemed to be the principal designer.

The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract is not suitable for works where the property is to be let or for commercial or residential work undertaken for business clients, including charities, religious organisations, not-for-profit bodies, or where the client is a public authority. The RIBA recommends the use of the RIBA Standard or Concise Professional Services Contract for commercial projects.

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A specimen copy can be downloaded here.

Key features

  • Based on the RIBA Concise Professional Services Contract but is suitable for simple domestic projects of any value
  • For use with a consumer client, relating to work to the client’s own home – including renovations, extensions, maintenance and new buildings – provided that the client has elected to undertake the work in their own name and not as a limited company or other legal entity or where the property will be let
  • Compliant with the Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • Suitable for commissions procured on the basis of a traditional form of building contract where tendering occurs at the end of Stage 4 (Technical Design)
  • Focuses on the Architect/Consultant purely providing the Architectural services, but includes the provision to undertake the services of a Principal Designer, under the CDM Regulations 2015

Easy to understand

The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract is written in plain English, which provides three key benefits:

  • The language used in the contract is succinct and easy to understand, compared to other standard forms of contracts
  • The terms of the contract are fair and equitable for both client and Architect/Consultant
  • The clause structure used in the contract avoids the use of large numbers of sub-sub clauses and large amounts of cross-referencing between provisions

Key changes in the new 2020 edition

The new 2020 edition of the RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract has been updated to align with the revised RIBA Plan of Work. We have also taken the opportunity, following feedback from users of the contracts and of construction lawyers, to review and revise some of the standard clauses so that they are clearer and easier to understand. In addition, we have also made the following changes:

  • Included more detailed guidance on the signing and witnessing contracts
  • Updated and provided more detailed guidance on the various forms of dispute resolution – mediation, adjudication, arbitration and litigation
  • Included a field for the architect/consultant to state who their internal complaints contact is (in line with the requirements of the ARB and RIBA codes of conduct)
  • Included additional requirements for the architect/consultant to set out their professional indemnity insurance cover for cladding and fire related issues and/or other material exclusions or restrictions, that might be relevant to the project
  • Removed the clause stating that the architect/consultant had to obtain written consent from the client to publish photographs and other information relating to the project (subject to the standard confidentiality conditions)
  • Inserted a new clause in the ‘Fees’ section stating that if the client instructs for a reduction in the project brief, which in turn reduces the construction cost, the figure to which the percentage basic fee shall be applied, up to the date of instruction, shall be the estimate of the construction cost, or the lowest acceptable tender, at the time of the instruction

Copies required for each Party

It is legally advisable that both parties to the contract each have an original signed version. Therefore, you should purchase two copies of the contract, so that both the client and the architect/consultant has an original signed copy. Alternatively, prepare your contract online enabling you to issue final copies of the contract to each party at no extra cost.

Integration with other RIBA documents

The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract have been specifically written to integrate with the RIBA Building Contracts and the RIBA Plan of Work.

Create your RIBA Professional Services Contract online – it is quick, simple and straightforward

Generating your professional services contract online allows you to create, alter, manage and view all of your contracts in one secure location before printing the final contract. For further details, go to: www.ribacontracts.com.

 

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