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On course

technical & practice

Our past paper series provides an opportunity for architects and students to test their understanding of practice issues

When education secretary Charles Clarke attacks the concept of education for education's sake, you have to be a little worried. He was quoted in May as telling a private seminar in Oxford that medieval studies were simply 'an adornment' that it is 'all right for ornamental purposes but there is no reason for the state to pay for them'. Nowadays, education might be a priority for government, but only, it seems, if it has a career or a skill attached.

What impact might such practical concerns (or, some might say, philistinism) have on architectural studies? Admittedly, architecture is a vocation; a professional career subject, but what about all that subsidiary nonsense, Clarke might ask. After all, isn't architectural history, by definition, out of date? Why pay for insurance for foreign trips when pictures in books might suffice? And what about theory? What's practical about that? Parody aside, we may soon find that these subjects don't serve the immediacy of the skills-based, service-orientated education establishment that Clarke might wish to promote.

Fortunately, not so the AJ. Continuing our successful series of CPD Part 3 exam preparation questions, we say 'pish!' to dumbing down; 'tosh!' to laissez-faire; and 'huzzah!' to awkward questions. Unfortunately, though, we have to operate in a CPD system that allows self-examination and precious little peer review. So we have formatted a list of questions that we hope might stretch you a little and test your actual knowledge.

As before, we recommend all questions are attempted and that no longer than one hour's CPD credit be written into your personal development plan.


Explain the following terms (with reference to a particular contract):

Loss and expense

Collateral warranty

Going into administration


What is the objective behind the new JCT Major Projects Form and who is it aimed at primarily?


What does ADR stand for?

What is the difference between arbitration, adjudication and mediation?

What is the function of an expert witness?

What is a Scott Schedule and what should it comprise?


A client rings up to inform you that they have just had a new t&g oak floor installed in their recently completed self-built home, and that serious flaws are evident within the finished product. Joints between boards are excessive, hammer marks are noticeable over the floor around the oval nail heads, splinters and gaps are visible at the skirtings, and over-sanding has caused troughs in the surface of the floorboards, he alleges.

He requests that you come out immediately to investigate and if appropriate, take on the job of writing a case to defend his claim against the floor sub-contractor in legal action. What is your first course of action?

You agree to a rate of £35/hr but the client informs you that it must be to a maximum of £350 as they have already gone over budget on their house during the course of the works.You visit the property, which is 40 miles away. The traditional two-storey, stone-faced cavity construction, detached dwelling is finished to a very high quality.

Plastering, painting and joinery, all completed by the client, are extremely well done, above the accepted standard of ordinary builders'craftsmanship. He points out flaws in the flooring which comprise gaps between floorboards of less than 1mm (although there are three instances of floorboards being almost 2mm apart); similar tolerances are evident between the floors and skirtings.The hammer dents are barely visible in five locations over the 90m2 floor area and a ball-bearing test reveals that the floor is perfectly level save for one 1m2 bowl where the floor has clearly been sanded excessively. There are two shakes in the floorboards.

The client wants to know what you think, as he is keen to sue the flooring contractor - and wants immediate advice so that he can get a letter off before your report is written. What do you say?

You return to the office and begin to write up your notes.Over the next two days, the client rings every two hours demanding advice.

What should you do?

You begin to research the flooring standards, regulatory guidance and client/contractor correspondence.After two days, as you are roughly halfway through your report, you realise that 10 hours have elapsed. What do you do?

The client refuses to pay for any more time, but threatens to sue because he has spent £350 but you have produced nothing.He feels that he is being blackmailed into overspending on his budget.

How do you respond?

All goes quiet until you discover that an architectural sole practitioner in the same town has been called out to your ex-client's house to investigate matters of a similar nature. What do you do?

You have just received a cheque for £200 in full and final payment for 'inadequately resolved investigations'and learn that your correspondence file and provisional report have been handed over to the other architect. What do you do?

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