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RIBA retreats on Standard Form of Agreement

The RIBA has made a dramatic U-turn over a key clause in its contentious Standard Form of Agreement (SFA), following a vote at the institute’s council meeting last week

Following months of protests from the Association of Consultant Architects (ACA) the institute has agreed to include a ‘no set off’ clause when it re-drafts its ‘dangerous’ client agreement forms.

The ACA claims the absence of the clause means clients can delay or refuse to pay an architect on ‘potentially spurious’ grounds.  

‘Saying we told you so doesn’t get us anywhere and it is a shame we had to take such a strong initiative to try and get this sorted out,’ said ACA’s Brian Waters who has repeatedly said the RIBA’s form was legally dangerous and masterminded the launch of its own rival client document.

Waters told the AJ he thought the RIBA had now conceded on all the other major differences between the two forms and hoped the two organisations could now work together to create a single agreed document.

However Waters urged the RIBA to use the ACA’s legal team – rather than the institute’s own preferred lawyer - to make sure the documents were watertight.

He also admitted that the ACA was looking to contact the Competition Commission over the RIBA’s refusal to stock the ACA document and added that it was ‘amazing’ that the existing SFA form had not been withdrawn ‘if only because of what had happened at council’.

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