It is a common misconception that an Architect’s role is simply an agent of the proprietor during contract administration and is supposed to look for the proprietor’s best interest only.
An Architect’s role changes when he or she is being engaged to be a contract administrator. Under Australian Building Industry Contracts (ABIC), an architect is elected to be an impartial administrator to both the proprietor and the contractor during construction, despite being paid by the proprietor. ABIC are jointly published by Master Builders Australia Limited (Master Builders) and Australian Institute of Architects. It is not the role of an architect to supervise the construction but to assess, value and certify the construction progress in accordance to the contract. It is the contractor’s role to supervise the construction.
· The Architect is the owner’s agent for giving instructions to the contractor. However, in acting as assessor, valuer or certifier, the Architect acts independently and not as the agent of the owner.
· The owner must ensure that Architect, in acting as assessor, valuer or certifier, complies with the contract and acts fairly and impartially, having regard to the interests of both the owner and the contractor. The owner must not compromise the architect’s independence in acting as assessor, valuer or certifier.
· The Architect is not the owner’s agent for giving or receiving notices for dispute and contract termination
· If the Architect resigns, or becomes incapable of acting as Architect, or if the owner terminates the engagement of the Architect, the newly appointed Architect is bound by the written decisions of any previous Architect.
To achieve a smooth and successful project, collaboration is the main factor. As the contract administrator, an experienced and diligent Architect in many ways help to achieve this by acting impartially, protecting both party best interest.
M.Arch (MELB) Hons, RAIA
BY Projects Architecture