Construction Professionals. Always conclude your terms of Contract

As we always emphasise to our clients it is always important to properly conclude the terms of the contract under which you undertake work. Not only is it common sense but it makes any claims or disputes easier to resolve. You don’t recover what you are entitled to but only what you can prove.

We recently recovered outstanding fees due to an Architect who had tendered on the basis of a standard RIBA contract. The tender was accepted – not in writing although the employer knowingly permitted the Architect to commence work on the project.

The Architect completed the design but the Employer refused to pay all the fees owing arguing there was no contract in place. Lengthy negotiations failed to work and eventually the Architect turned to us.

We commenced adjudication proceedings as provided for in the Contract. The Employer argued there was no right to adjudication as there was no concluded contract. The Adjudicator robustly rejected the argument and found that there was contract in writing incorporating the terms of the RIBA standard contract.

The case does highlight the needs and benefits of making sure – whether you are a contractor, a sub contractor, a Quantity Surveyor or an Architect that you must ensure you agree the terms of any contract. It makes sense to agree in writing what the obligations of each party are, reduces disputes and where these do arise it makes resolving disputes easier.