For the sake of simplicity this article refers generically to all architectural design professionals as architects. This is by no means intended to discredit either Registered Architects or Building Designers, and their similarities or unique differences as practicing professionals. 


Before engaging to undertake architectural services, an architect must understand the responsibilities and entitlements of the various people involved, and will often be required to sign a contract or agreement to formalize the terms of their professional relationship.

Client and Architect Agreement (CAA)

A Client and Architect Agreement (CAA), also known as a design contract, will often contain details and information regarding:

  • The parties – Who the contract is between. The names and details of the architect and their client(s)
  • The responsibilities and entitlements of each party
  • A list of consultants
  • The services that the architect will (or will not) provide.
  • The proposed budget or cost of works
  • Fees, expenses and conditions
  • Liability – to what extent the architect is liable in event or an accident, error, or omission.
  • Copyright – The ownership of the architect’s intellectual property.
  • Conflict resolution, conditions, and termination

Contract Administration

An architect may also become a party to a construction contract, where they oversee the selection of the contractor (builder), provide advise to the owner (their client), and even monitor the construction process. In this role the architect will be required to act as a neutral party, beholden to neither the owner nor the contractor. They may also be required to evaluate the quality of the construction, and approve the release of funds for work completed.


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The information contained in the article and website are general in nature and are the opinions of the author, through his professional experience and study. This should not be substituted for seeking professional or legal advice in this area. Click here for more details of our content.