The laws on contract liability as they specifically relate to architectural practice.
The 'Laws of Contract Liability as they Specifically Relate to Architectural
Practice', examines the liabilities of an architect in contract, and in the related
field of tort. Against the background of the evolving doctrine of liability, the
historical factors are summarised which gave rise to both a recognised architectural
profession and also a standard form of building contract. The legal relationship
of an architect with his client and with third parties is analysed, and
especially those liabilities which arise when he acts as agent, for it is generally
in this capacity that an architect practices under a building contract. The degree
of skill and care to be adopted in meeting precontract liabilities from R. I. B. A.
work stages A through to G is examined before considering those which arise
from six, main, standard forms of contract. The contracts are J. C. T. '80, GC/
Works/ 1, A. C. A. Form of Building Agreement 1982, F. A. S. Form of Building
Contract, the I. C. E. and F. I. D. I. C. contract conditions. The effectiveness of
various ways in which damages that flow from liability may be limited are
assessed, they range from protective clauses, statutory limitation and insurances
to the particular structure of an architectural practice be it a partnership or
a company which is either limited or unlimited.
It is concluded that it is inappropriate to apply a uniform standard of skill and
care where there is a wide range of professional experience. The comparison
should be one of like with like upon a sliding scale. Furthermore, to suggest
that there is a particular method which can be adopted to avoid liability for
professional negligence is fallacious. It is more effective to prescribe reasonable
limits of liability for damages. The various ways of limiting liability should
not be regarded in isolation from one another. Rather, they should be woven
together to form a well balanced whole.