Contracts for Architects and Engineers
A contract for Architects and Engineers is the first step before your firm starts a project. It can be difficult to think about the contract when the main objective is designing the project. The contract is a vital piece, and the start, of the project.
The contract is going to provide a guide as to what your role in the project is and what is your client’s role. It provides items such as the fees agree upon, scope of services and what will happen in the case of an error or omission. The contract, while it can be tedious, is the details before the project begins. A few notes about contracts:
Read and review the contract. In addition to your firm reading the contract have a local attorney read the contract and provide feedback. Additionally, your insurance company can review the contract for insurability. Your firm wants to make sure that you have a contract that has clauses that are going to be insurable.
Negotiate on the contract, if needed. Not all contracts are going to have room for negotiation, but if you can’t be sure you understand the implications. It is best if you can negotiate so that it makes sense for your firm.
Verify that the insurance you have in place meets the insurance requirements within the contract. Again, this is a place that may need some negotiation. Sometimes the limits of liability requirements on Professional Liability aren’t always in line with your firm’s scope of services are in the contract.
Know what your contract says and always have it available to reference, if needed, throughout the project. Not that you have to know the contract word for word, but certainly be aware of key factors in the contract, such as the scope of services.
Make sure you and your client both sign the contract. While this seems like a simple task, it isn’t always. By signing it, that means both you and your client understand the terms of the contract.
Associations, insurance companies, insurance agents and attorneys are all resources to help navigate contracts. Be sure to call or email with any questions.