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Member Offer: Legal Advice on Contracts

Institute member promotion for informed Lawyers March/April 2021

Architects working on commercial and government projects will know that the vast majority of clients insist on using their own pro forma consultancy agreements, and these lengthy contracts often bear little resemblance to the Australian Standard Consultancy Agreement, AS4122-2010.

Contracting on domestic projects is a lot more straightforward, as the Institute of Architects client and architect agreement is much more widely used. However, some domestic clients with friends or family in the law may seek to tinker with its standard terms.

Individual consultants, as well as consultant’s representative bodies, have been lobbying government to make contracts simpler and less onerous but, until that goal is achieved, it will be important to have access to legal expertise.

Since March 2020, Institute of Architects members have had discounted access to legal advice on contracts, from a new subsidiary of Planned Cover/IBL Ltd (the insurance broker owned by the Institute).

informed Lawyers Pty Ltd (ACN 635 862 145) can provide advice on:

  • Legal reviews of client-drafted consultancy agreements
  • Responding to client-initiated amendments to standard contracts like AS4122-2010 or the Institute’s Client and Architect Agreement
  • Writing your own pro forma client/architect agreement
  • Negotiating and amending client-drafted consultancy agreements
  • Drafting specific-purpose contracts like novation deeds, deeds of release, and deeds of indemnity
  • Drawing on years of experience providing insurance advice to consultants, informed Lawyers understands contract risks from an architect’s perspective.

Some of the interesting clauses we’ve found in client-drafted contracts recently include:

  • Directors guarantees and dangerously broad stat decs which would render senior staff personally liable for any deficiencies in architectural services;
  • Architect’s fees being paid by cheque to be collected from the construction site!
  • Obligation for architect to refund 100% of fees for minor deficiencies in services;
  • No right for architect to claim extensions of time or variations, or charge interest on outstanding fees.

informed Lawyers Pty Ltd (ACN 635 862 145) is pleased to offer Institute members 10% off their regular pricing. Be sure to mention this when enquiring. Many services are priced as a lump-sum by page length to give you cost certainty for the initial review.

For more information, email Wendy Poulton, Principal, phone (03) 8508 5424 or visit the website.