For some people, building a skyscraper or living in a beautiful dream house mostly falls under the definition of the good life. The vision of glass walls, open spaces, balconies, spacious rooms, and other beautiful arrangements is always inspiring. This vision and dream can be part of reality with the help of an architect.

Architecture helps building from scratch, restoration projects or remodeling of a house or a building. However, before hiring an architect to build your project, there is one must step. This involves the signing of an architect contract.

What is an Architect Contract?

Upon hiring an architect, it is a mandatory practice for a client to deliver its expectations for the project. A follow-up document after the initial meeting by the client will formulate the basis of the agreement between architect and client. This architect agreement creates the path for the architects who work on all kinds of building projects for the clients. Perfect implementation of the project is only possible when the agreement states all the client’s requirements.

The agreement will ensure the safeguard and distribution of the responsibility. An architect contract will guarantee that everybody working on an architect-client partnership understands the importance and value of the project. The obligations, rules & regulations, criteria, and ideas of the client will be preferred, and the design will be according to what is expected.

The architecture agreement states the project deliverables, consistency, and quality. Responsibilities of the architect include, but are not limited to, all planning, reviewing, supervising, and all other activities required to complete the design of the project. Apart from those, the form will list their services as well as their hourly rate ($/hr) in the agreement.

The architecture agreement is beneficial and valid for the usage of both architect and the client. The most promising architectural firms create open lines of communication and shared trust and reverence with the client.

The Typical Format of an Architect Contract Include

The format of the architecture contract is based on obtaining important data required for a project. The typical format of a contract is limited to the following sections:

  1. Cover of the Agreement: This section highlights the purpose of the agreement in the form of the title.
  2. Detail Information of Concerned Parties: The record of the concerned parties’ name, designation, company’s name, address, email, and phone number, etc.
  3. Interpretation of the Terms: The definition regarding different technical terms and jargon will be mentioned for better understanding.
  4. Scope of the Work: It is important to include the scope of work. That way, all sides will ensure that they agree to the same materials specification, quality of work, scheduling, and other requirements.
  5. The Obligation of Architect & Client: It will determine the position and responsibility of the architect and the client position in the construction phase.
  6. Appointment of Third-party: The direction regarding the involvement of third-party contract, consultant, or developer will be given in this section.
  7. Payment Schedule of the Agreement: Both costs and expenses associated with the project should be mentioned along with their payments on reaching a milestone.
  8. Legal Clauses: The legal provisions regarding confidentiality, rights, insurance, and liabilities will be mentioned as per the requirements of both parties.
  9. Duration and Termination: The duration of the project will be recorded in this section. It would also state the clauses on termination of the contract by either party.

Tips for Writing an Architect Contract

When negotiating architect contracts for a project, a variety of assessments are made. Many key topics need to be concentrated on while drafting an architect contract for a project. They are mentioned as follows:

  • Understanding the project is very important. It involves information regarding project financing, level of involvement, construction requirement, and project constraints, etc.
  • Divide the project into multiple milestones by their expected time duration. Also, state the type and frequency of the update to the client.
  • Assign responsibility and authority to the team's members. Team members can help with coordination and decision-making to achieve project goals.
  • Maintain the dispute resolution provisions regarding the involvement of arbitrator or litigator in case of a dispute. Set their fee, governing law, and decision-making power.
  • The value, nature, and intensity form the basis for project contracts. The type of project, the level of detail, the scale, and the timetable would all be tracked down in the agreement.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Drafting an Architect Contract

Careful drafting of the architect contract is very important as it binds the architect and client to work on a project. Any communication gap or misunderstanding can result in the failure of the work. Following are some common mistakes of agreement:

  • Biased Terms and Conditions: The possibility of biased manipulation of the provision and clauses into one's favor is not dealing in good faith. The contract should be fair, just, and reciprocate the requirement of each party.
  • Failing to Stick to the Contract: The highly ambitious and unrealistic agreement can sacrifice the performance of the project along with the client satisfaction. The architect contract should be clearly drafted considering the resource and the budget of the project.
  • Failed Indication of Payment Program: Make sure to provide clear information regarding the payment method and duration. The methods can be cash, wire transfer, bank cheque, or others.
  • Failing to Establish Dispute Resolve Method: Every project can hit a bump in the form of a dispute. However, this bump can accumulate and hinder the overall process of the architectural project. Provide clear-cut methods to resolve disputes in the contract.


Architects can bring your vision into a reality. But their work is dependent on the architect's contract. The architect agreement provides obligation and allows the participation of both parties in the architectural project. The article has put detailed information for the drafting of an agreement to establish a good partnership.