California

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2015 Edition, Issue 3


Common Violations of the APA: Written Contract

The Board’s investigations often find that licensees fail to obtain an executed written contract prior to commencing work on a project, or that one or more of the required contract elements are missing. BPC 5536.22(a) requires an architect to use a written contract when providing professional services to a client and that contract must be executed by all parties involved prior to commencing any work, unless the client knowingly states in writing that work may commence before the final contract is executed. An architect’s written contract must contain the following required elements:

  1. A description of the services to be provided by the architect to the client;
  2. A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract and method of payment agreed upon by both parties;
  3. The name, address, and license number of the architect and the name and address of the client;
  4. A description of the procedure that the architect and the client will use to accommodate additional services; and
  5. A description of the procedure to be used by either party to terminate the contract.

A contract that contains the elements listed on this page will comply with BPC 5536.22. However, good business practices may warrant additional terms and conditions be included, especially on more complex design projects.

Exceptions to the written contract requirement may apply when: 1) pro bono professional services are rendered by an architect; 2) the architect has provided services to the client previously that are the same general kind of services and compensation; 3) the client knowingly states in writing, after full disclosure of BPC 5536.22, that a contract is not required; or 4) professional services are rendered to a registered engineer or licensed land surveyor.