Hello, nice to meet you again. This time, I would like to discuss architectural service contract. For those of you who are new to practicing architecture and want to create a contract with a client, you might be confused about how to structure it. Now, we will discuss in detail what should be included in an architecture contract so that you can build a strong foundation for each project you undertake.
Why this is a so important?
Well, it is a document that binds you as an architect with the client. A good and comprehensive contract is crucial to avoid conflicts, align expectations, and protect the interests of all parties involved. A clear and transparent contract will serve as a precise guide for the progress of an architectural project.
Since the architectural service contract is a binding document, you need to create an architectural quotation letter beforehand. This letter should contain information about the scope of services, cost estimates, project schedule, and other relevant services. The quotation letter should cover important details that provide a clear picture to the client about the services and value you offer as a professional architect. This quotation letter serves as the basis for the cooperation contract letter.
In a service contract between an architect and a client, there are several points that need to be included to ensure the smooth progress of the project and prevent any disadvantages for both parties. So, what are the crucial points that should be included?
Let’s start with the first point that must be in the architecture contract. You should include some basic information, such as your and the client’s name and address. Additionally, the project description must be detailed, clearly stating the project name, type, and address. Also, do not forget to include the land area and building area, as some architects base their fees on the designed building area.
Rights and Responsibilities
Explain in detail the responsibilities of each party. This ensures that all tasks and responsibilities are clear from the beginning, leaving no room for misunderstandings along the way. As an architect, you should explain what you will do in this project, such as building planning and design, supervision during construction, or coordination with contractors. You must also ensure that all your work complies with the regulations, code of ethics, and applicable professional standards, including maintaining the confidentiality of client information.
Meanwhile, the client’s responsibilities should also be clearly outlined. They may need to provide the information and documents you require, grant access to the project site, or ensure that payments are made according to the agreed schedule. All these responsibilities should be explained in detail and specificity in the contract to avoid any room for different interpretations that could lead to issues later. Make sure you and the client agree and understand all the responsibilities stated in the contract.
Scope of Work and Project Timeline
The scope of work in an architecture contract is crucial. There must be a list of services and tasks you will perform in the project. Clearly state what is included in the architect’s services, whether it’s just design, creating construction drawings and occasional progress monitoring, or a comprehensive set of services. This clarity avoids misunderstandings between you and the client in the future.
Similarly, the project timeline is essential. There must be clear details on how many weeks or months the project will be completed, with usually strict consequences if the deadline is exceeded. You must understand your capacity and capabilities in handling a project to avoid harming both you and the client due to exceeding deadlines.
Fee/Cost and Payment Terms
The next point is the fee or compensation for services. The architecture contract must specify the agreed-upon fee for the architect’s services. You can determine the architect’s fee based on various factors, such as the project’s size, complexity, or a percentage of the total construction cost. It is essential to clearly state how the fee is calculated and whether there are limitations or additional costs that may arise along the way.
Also, do not forget to include detailed payment terms. For example, the payment method, whether it can be paid per project stage (milestone) or on a weekly/monthly basis. The payment schedule should be clear so that everyone knows when payment is due. Finally, specify the payment method, such as bank transfer, and include the account number and bank name.
Equally important is specifying the terms for changes in costs or changes in the scope of work. Changes often occur in a project, such as increasing the floor area or expanding the scope of work. There should be rules governing how to handle these changes, such as requiring written approval before making changes and determining the impact on costs and work timelines.
Copyright and Publication
The next point to consider is copyright and project publication. Firstly, regarding copyright, every design created by the architect remains the architect’s property, even if the client requests the design. This is to prevent claims of ownership that could ultimately harm both the architect and the client, given that architectural projects involve many people.
The second point is publication. There should be a clause stating that the project can be published on social media or in print media, with the client’s approval. Project publication can be a way to promote your services. However, you must pay attention to data confidentiality. This is crucial. We must ensure that data related to the client remains confidential, especially regarding construction costs. It should not be disclosed to others casually. This is also for our own benefit, to prevent anyone from looking for opportunities to exploit that information.
Changes and Contract Termination
In an architecture contract, another important aspect to consider is regulating changes and termination of the contract. In essence, you must establish clear procedures if there are changes or modifications that need to be made. If there are serious issues, you also need to discuss provisions for terminating the contract. Oh, don’t forget to include a section about payment if the client decides to terminate the contract before completion. This is crucial for protecting both parties and reducing the risk that may arise from sudden changes or contract terminations.
Penalties and Consequences of Contract Violation
The last but equally important point is to include penalties and consequences that may arise from contract violations. This can be in the form of fines or payment deductions if a party does not fulfill its obligations properly. Ensure that you provide a clear and fair explanation of this to prevent intentional violations of the contract or negligence. With this, we can prevent unnecessary contract violations.
In addition to the clauses mentioned above, some tips below may be considered when drafting an architecture contract:
Innovation and Design Exploration Clause: Include a clause that encourages innovation and design exploration. This aims to provide space for you as an architect to seek innovative design solutions without being limited by conventional constraints, resulting in more optimal buildings or architectural projects.
Local Resource Usage Clause: Encourage the use of local materials and building resources in your project. For example, have a clause stating that the project uses a certain percentage of local building materials. This can boost the local economy and help create stronger ties between the building and its surrounding environment.
Consider Force Majeure Clause: Include a clause that regulates actions to be taken in case of emergencies or force majeure such as natural disasters, pandemics, and so on that can affect the project.
Consider Insurance Aspects: If possible and appropriate, consider arranging relevant insurance to protect all parties from unwanted risks and losses.
Consult with Expert Lawyers: If possible, involve expert lawyers in creating an architecture contract to ensure all legal requirements are met and to protect the rights and obligations of all parties involved. Especially if the project’s scale is complex with a high contract value.
An architectural contract is crucial as the foundation for starting every project. It is essential to explain all the accurate information in the contract. By writing all points in detail in a contract, everything will be clear and protect both your and the client's interests. So as an architect, make sure everything is clearly written in the contract to avoid problems in the future.
To facilitate you in creating effective and comprehensive architectural quotation and contract letters, I have provided templates ready for you to use. The format in these templates is the same as what I use in the architectural projects I work on. By using these templates, you can easily fill in the required information and customize them to suit your project's needs. You can visit the link below or click on the image to get the templates.
May this assist you in creating an architectural contract letter. See you in the next post. Goodbye!