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Causes of complaint

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Recent high-profile cases indicate that many architects do not know the basic rules and regulations of their professional registration board.

Here we outline the ways to avoid client complaints as documented in the ARB guidelines:

11.1 Architects should not undertake any professional work unless the terms of the contract have been recorded in writing as to:

the scope of the work;

the fee or method of calculating it;

the allocation of responsibilities;

any limitation to responsibilities;

the provisions for termination;

any special provisions for dispute resolution;

and they have informed the client that architects are subject to the disciplinary sanction of the board in relation to complaints of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence.

11.2 At the end of a contract (if requested) or otherwise upon reasonable demand an architect should promptly return to a client any papers, plans or other property to which the client is legally entitled.

11.3 Architects should ensure that their firm has:

appropriate and effective internal procedures, including monitoring and review procedures; and sufficient suitably qualified and supervised staff; such as to enable it to deliver an effective and efficient client service.

11.4 Architects should carry out their professional work without undue delay and, so far as is reasonably practicable, in accordance with any timescale and cost limits agreed with the client.

11.5 Architects should keep their client informed of the progress of work undertaken on their behalf and of any issue which may significantly affect its quality or cost.

11.6 Architects should observe the confidentiality of their client's affairs and should not disclose confidential information without the prior consent of the client or other lawful authority, for example, when disclosure is required by order of a court.

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