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Architecture contracts

Architecture contracts

Presently, OAR provides 3 types of standard contracts that can be used in any situation, as the case may be:

Contract of architectural design and urban planning services

The standard contract provided for architects is the result of developing and updating the contracts recommended by the publication Exercitarea profesiei de arhitect / Practicing architecture (second edition, Simetria, 2006) issued by the OAR working group “Practicing architecture. The Architect’s fees[1].

The standard contracts were drafted and validated back then (2006) by Doina Butică – architect, Cătălina Bocan – architect, Silvia Măldărescu – architect, Alexandru Panaitescu – architect, professor Vlad Gaivoronschi, PhD – architect, OAR vice-president and coordinator of the working group, and Serghei Perju – lawyer. The current form was drafted by Alexandru Găvozdea – architect, amended by the OAR legal department and validated by the OAR Board of Directors.

The evolution of the professional practice, of the types of contractual relations, and the changes in the legal framework and in the mechanisms for settling disputes made necessary the modernization of provisions and clauses. This standard contract draws on the Architect’s Tasks, adopted by Decision no. 860 of the National Council of May, 28th,2012, as fundamental part of the Design Cost Information System.

In order to develop this standard contract, examples of contracts from other European professional organizations were critically analyzed, and principles were taken over from the Polish, the German, and the British models, being adjusted in the view of direct and diverse experience with Romanian and foreign clients/beneficiaries, with natural persons and companies, the latter ranging from SMEs to multinational groups.

The fundamental principles underlying the standard contract are:

  1. the object of the contract: defining the architect’s tasks (and, by analogy, those of the related professions) required to obtain the final product, the building, at an appropriate quality standard;
  2. the character of enterprise for the contract of services, therefore “at the expense and risk of the supplier” until the conclusion (of intermediary stages) of the project;
  3. the need for a fair balance between the rights and obligations of the two parties, any imbalance to the benefit of one of the parties generating the premises of a faulty cooperation;
  4. the object of the contract: defining the architect’s tasks (and, by analogy, those of the related professions) required to obtain the final product, the building, at an appropriate quality standard;
  5. the character of enterprise for the contract of services, therefore “at the expense and risk of the supplier” until the conclusion (of intermediary stages) of the project;
  6. the need for a fair balance between the rights and obligations of the two parties, any imbalance to the benefit of one of the parties generating the premises of a faulty cooperation.

The organization of the document in chapters that include all clauses on a certain topic (always respecting the principle of balance between parties) and that follow orderly in the customary logic of contractual negotiation facilitates the use of the standard contract.

The first three chapters deal with fundamental elements of a commercial contract – the contracting parties, the object and the value of the contract:

  • A.         Contracting parties
  • B.         The object of the contract, its contents, and definitions
  • C.         The Architect’s rates

The fourth chapter deals with an extremely important aspect related to the creative character of the service, and to aspects related to accountability and confidentiality:

D.         Copyrights

The next three chapters detail the rights and obligations, as well as the object of the contract, defining it precisely, in a genus proximum -diferentia specifica manner: what is and what it is not the object of the contract. It is recommended to keep the entire list of the architect’s tasks, even the ones that will not be contracted, something which will be shown by crossing them out, and indicate thus the will of the parties:

  • E.         General conditions of the contract
  • F.         The scope of the contract
  • G.         The architect’s tasks

The following two chapters organize and clarify the system of multiple relations among the stakeholders involved in carrying out the project and related services, in order to obtain a high-quality building:

  • H.         The list of experts, studies and verifications
  • I.          The list of documents to be made available by the Client

The next two chapters set out how the contractual obligations are met, but also the cases when remedies are necessary, or sanctions apply:

  • J.          Concluding the project
  • K.         Sanctions for non-compliance with contractual requirements.

The last four chapters deal with contract termination, amicable or in litigation, as well as with force majeure, jurisdiction and safeguard clauses:

  • L.          Termination of the contract
  • M.        Force majeure
  • N.         Settlement of disputes
  • O.         Final provisions

Contract of consultancy services relating to architecture and urban planning

Following the principles listed above, the standard contract of consultancy services relating to architecture and urban planning is a simplified version of the design contract. It can be used when the architect’s activity is limited to the preliminary stages, of consultancy and urban analysis in the purpose of obtaining the permits and establishing the initial concept.

The architect will decide whether to use this standard contract, following the client’s brief.

Contract of architectural design and urban planning services for very limited investments

Following the principles listed above, the standard contract of architectural design and urban planning services for very limited investments is a simplified version of the design contract.

It can be used for projects with limited impact, investment, and responsibility, such as the design of fences, of canopies, of banners, of temporary installations.

The architect will decide whether to use this standard contract, after analyzing the project’s size, not from the perspective of the designed area, but of the effort required by the project, and of the project’s impact. We do not recommend this contract for design projects of individual housing, even if it a small size project.            


[1]The standard contracts were drafted and validated back then (2006) by Doina Butică – architect, Cătălina Bocan – architect, Silvia Măldărescu – architect, Alexandru Panaitescu – architect, professor Vlad Gaivoronschi, PhD – architect, OAR vice-president and coordinator of the working group, and Serghei Perju – lawyer. The current form was drafted by Alexandru Găvozdea – architect, amended by the OAR legal department and validated by the OAR Board of Directors.

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