Building a New Home? Mistakes Your Architect Needs to Avoid

 An architect’s responsibilities are often assumed to fall under the umbrella of “design.” However, this is far from the truth. Anyone who has decided to build a new home knows that this process requires more than a pencil, paper, and some artistic capabilities.

In fact, architects develop several engineering skills through their studies and work experience; it’s not realistic for a drawing to become reality without analyzing the structure of the house, soil requirements, and other engineering technicalities. 

An architect designs and creates highly-detailed illustrated works with an engineer to determine the appropriability of the design and determines the requirements needed to carry out the design, among many other things. Hence, architects and engineers work together, hand-in-hand, to make a dream home come to life.

However, it’s not that easy. Even after the building has been built for several years, an architect can still be sued for the slightest of mistakes. These mistakes could cost him from a few hundred dollars to millions, depending on the consequences. 

Although mistakes are inevitable in every professional’s life, there are some general mistakes that new architects should avoid:

  1. Underestimating the power of a contract

One major mistake that most architects make is that they underestimate the presence of a written contract. They either make agreements without any written documents for backup, carelessly skimming through the terms and conditions of an agreement, or even disregard some terms, only to immensely regret doing so later on.

Because if an architect lightly regards (or doesn’t at all) the terms of a contract, they might be sued for things they never knew they could be even sued for. A written agreement serves as a master plan for the project to be conducted. 

It highlights what the other party could sue you for, and what they can’t. If those terms aren’t put under the microscope, if matters go sideways, you might find yourself sued for even more than you have made from the work.

There are standard contracts made specifically for architects and engineers which are ultimately used for large projects. Even though these standard agreements are fairer to the two parties than a contract issued by one party, you must look closely at the modifications made to the general agreements. Even suggest making modifications that are more unambiguous, and specific to your project.

  1. Proper Roofing Design

When thinking of a roof, people think of the very basic function which is to keep the house protected, dry, and to provide shelter. According to roofing contractor Lions Gate Roofing, “Roofs account for a very small percentage of construction costs, yet cost a fortune when legal and leakage issues arise.”

Furthermore, according to Architect Magazine, roofs usually last around half of their intended lifetime, and this most often happens due to water leakage inside the house or building. Although the concept of a roof seems simple, architects, contractors, and engineers overlook the importance of proper installation and materials handling,

Roof failure also happens because the architect failed to create a proper roof design to prevent any consequences. Architects are so fixated on having an incredible design, and forget to measure how convenient this design is. In other words, they don’t think in 3D.

  1. Not having a liability insurance contract

Every professional should have a contract with a liability insurance company such as Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O) because anyone could fall prey to claims of faulty work, even if this isn’t the case. This type of insurance protects the person against the expenses of claims made by the other party.

It works by covering up for costs limited to the amount made in the insurance contract initially. Failing to do so could result in a professional worker spending thousands, or even millions of dollars, to settle a legal claim made against them. In addition to the costs needed for the legal team. 

  1. Missing out on opportunities

In the beginning stages of any career, you’ll most likely stumble upon projects or contracts you don’t want to proceed with, but should. Some opportunities are disguised as unfavorable work, or work without an attractive incentive. 

In every project, there’s an opportunity; an opportunity to learn something new, to encounter a different type of situation with clients, to use something like these residential renderings to help enhance your designing skills, to build a relationship with a client, or for the client to recommend you to even more people.

Don’t prejudge a project, a meeting with someone, or any work obligation because there could be that one time that there’s an opportunity that will change your whole career.

  1. Overlooking contract terms

We’ve agreed that you must have a written contract, and review it carefully, however, some terms are commonly misinterpreted, one of them is the “merger clause” which is present in the majority of contracts. 

Anyone reading this provision will interpret that it means that all clauses have been conjoined into that agreement. But legitimately, it means that any prior agreements between the two parties are canceled. It translates to you losing any agreements you have made before the final one which contains a “merger clause” provision.

Hence, if your initial proposal discourses an issue that isn’t present in the final agreement, the proposal terms do not apply. They mean absolutely nothing as long as the final agreement doesn’t address that specific issue. On that account, you must go through every provision within the contract and understand it thoroughly.

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