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Weighty papers

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Do you know which Standard Form of Agreement (SFA) clauses best describe the services that you will provide?

The second in our series of articles looking at past papers continues to provide readers with a suitable number of hours' active CPD reading research. To ensure that the learning process does not become 'passive', we have included a range of questions from recent Part 3 examinations to test your actual knowledge.We can guarantee that the questions have not been set by Edexcel.

You are encouraged to go through all of the questions, preferably as an office exercise, to assist members of staff who are revising for their Part 3. However, the opportunity should also be taken to stimulate a renewed rigour on questions of architectural theory and practice among those members of staff who have gone a little rusty.

Contracts referred to in the questions and other source materials can be kept on hand for reference and general assistance.While we do not insist on examination conditions, we do recommend that all questions are attempted and that no longer than one hour's CPD credit be written into your personal development plan (PDP).

THE SCENARIO The architectural practice that employs you as an architectural assistant has been approached by an education trust which wishes to commission a new school building with an overall budget of £800,000.

It has recently been established and has never employed an architect before.At the start, it is unsure how to go about it and has obtained a list of architectural practices from the RIBA directory.

It has acquired a site that has been cleared of its previous building, which was a derelict paint factory and paint store. It falls within a conservation area, and a small gatehouse is listed.

Permission was sought and given for demolition of this unsightly and un-neighbourly user. The application included a simple layout drawing and this is the only dimensional information available at the outset.

The practice is a small one with two partners who are both qualified with considerable experience, and they employ one architect with five years'post-Part 3 experience, yourself. They also employ two other architectural assistants with Part 2 and limited experience. A part-time administration assistant provides secretarial support and book-keeping. The office is fully computerised.


1.As set out in the scenario, your practice has been approached by an education trust which has written, inviting it to express an interest in being considered for this work.The trust has approached some surveyors/architectural design specialists. It has asked for your practice profile and brochure, together with a simple letter explaining what services you can provide, what team you could put together for this work and what form of appointment you would consider in general terms.Draft the letter of response for one of the partners to consider before sending.

2.The education trust has been persuaded by your letter (as sent by the partner in the previous question) and has included your practice in a shortlist of three. It has written to you to make a detailed proposal for your appointment. It is now being advised by a project manager who has experience of school buildings procurement. You have been asked to include in your proposal a detailed proposal for your appointment based on the SFA/99 or CE/99 and a fee proposal.

3. 'The common law of privity is that a contract cannot be enforced by or against a person who is not a party to that contract.' Explain your understanding of this distinguishing feature of contract law. Although the notion is straightforward, it is not always obvious who the parties are to the contract. The law of agency provides the framework within which that question is decided.Explain your understanding of this, and how it relates to architects.

4. The case of Donaghue v Stevenson is central to the understanding to the tort of negligence.Explain the difference between tort and contract, and why it is that both affect the working practice of architects?

5. Explain the term practical completion in one of the standard forms of contract (either JCT 98 or IFC 98). Describe what is meant by practical completion.Under the terms of the contract, set out the steps which must be followed, first to achieve it and then to the final certificate.

6. The standard forms of contract JCT 98 and IFC 98 make provision for nominated or named subcontractors.Through a consideration of one of these contracts, explain how these differ from the domestic subcontractor, and set out the procedure to be carried out in nominating or naming the subcontractor.

Time:60 minutes Note: CPD is obligatory for all RIBA members with the annual target of 35 hours minimum. All training needs to be logged in your personal development plan (PDP).

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