Who Carries the Can?
We often have clients who want to handle their project without our assistance when it comes to the site phase. Whilst we are happy to tailor our service to suit the client’s requirements, it is important to clarify who is responsible for the quality of the project should the Architect be left out of the picture.
You may be surprised.
If a client goes it alone on a building project, they are reliant on the statutory process for ensuring the quality of the workmanship and adherence to the design. At completion of the project there is a 2 stage process.
Firstly, the Relevant Person (defined as the building owner, applicant or client) signs the Completion Certificate stating:
This completion certificate is confirmation that the work was carried out and/or conversion* made in accordance with the building warrant.
This completion certificate also confirms that in the case of work for the construction of a building, the building as constructed complies with the building regulations; that in the case of the provision of services, fittings or equipment in or in connection with a building that the services, fittings or equipment provided comply with building regulations; and in the case of conversion of a building that the building as converted complies with building regulations.
Can a client comfortably put their name to such a statement without professional input?
So, for the second stage which is the inspection by the Building Standards Officer.
Many clients think they can rely on the local authority to “certify” the work carried out but this is actually what they declare on the Notice of Acceptance of Completion Certificate:
We confirm as verifiers, so far as we are able to ascertain after making reasonable enquiry, that we are satisfied the work which is subject of the above completion certificate has now been competed in accordance with that certificate and the warrant detailed above.
One huge caveat leaving the client very much on the hook should things start to unravel.
Compare this to a Certificate of Practical Completion signed by an Architect or Surveyor at the end of a project stating that the works carried out are in full accordance with the contract (Drawings, Specification and Schedules) and that should any defect come to light within a set period of time from completion (usually 12months) these will be rectified under the terms of the contract.
As I said earlier, for some projects we are happy to be side lined during the site phase. It makes sense to do so for some simple projects. However, a client need to know the responsibility they are taking on.
You have been warned!