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New figures show disputes on the rise for architects

The number of disputes involving architects has risen during the last 12 months, according to a new survey of the UK construction industry

The study by the NBS reveals that more than 20 per cent of architectural practices had one or more contract in dispute in 2012 – up from 17 per cent in 2011.

This is just below the figure for the whole construction industry, which currently stands at 30 per cent.

Number of architects' contracts entering dispute

Number of architects’ contracts entering dispute

The value of architectural projects entering into dispute has also increased in the past year – from just 2 per cent of projects over £5 million in 2011, to 10 per cent in 2012.

Across the construction industry, half of the disputes reported had a value greater than a quarter of a million pounds and 13 per cent had a value in excess of £5 million.

Consultants, including architects, reported that over the past few years the number of non-paying clients, and clients going bankrupt, has dramatically increased as a result of the economic climate.

More than two-thirds of disputes happened during the construction process with the rest occurring after practical completion.

Last year, disputes were most common between the client and the main contractor primarily arising due to extensions of time and contract variations

The survey also revealed how international work has resulted in issues, with language barriers, unfamiliar contract forms, and security of payment causing the most problems for those embarking on international contracts.


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