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Association of Consultant Architects launches rival to RIBA client contract

The Association of Consultant Architects has unveiled its own rival client contract to the RIBA’s ‘dangerous’ standard form of agreement.

According to the ACA the institute’s latest document – an update of the soon to be discontinued SFA99 form – leaves practices open to ‘potentially disastrous’ professional indemnity insurance (PII) problems.

Unlike the RIBA’s form, the ACA’s 28-page document does not include a clause demanding the architect performs ‘his services in accordance with any budget or timescale agreed with the client’.

The ACA’s Stephen Yakeley said: ‘PI insurers have stated that failure to meet this obligation by the architect would not be covered by insurance policies. [This is] potentially ruinous.’

Other differences in the ACA form include a ‘no set-off’ clause, which can allow practices to enforce payment against unreasonable clients, and a provision to resign from a commission.

Comparing the forms, one business insider said: ‘The RIBA document is not as tight as the ACA form but it does try to create less friction with the client, whereas the ACA document limits the architect’s liability.’

A ‘disappointed’ Richard Brindley from the RIBA said:

‘A plethora of different standard contracts is certainly not helpful
to either architects or clients, especially as the ACA form appears to follow the lead of RIBA’s.’

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