Professional Services

The Architect

Your architect is a Registered Member of the RIAl.  By education, training and experience he is equipped to advise on all matters related to building, to assist you in all stages of the building project and to administer the building contract impartially between the employer and the contractor.   In Ireland there is legal protection of the title ‘Architect ’and of the qualifications that the name implies. It is illegal to offer an architectural service under such titles as ‘Architect’ without having any relevant formal qualifications. The RIAI holds the only register of professionally qualified architects with national and EU recognized qualifications.


(An agreed fixed fee based on a percentage of estimated construction cost)

Work Stage 1: Initial Feasibility & Design

  • Discuss scope of service, charges and content of client agreement.
  • Work with the client to establish the brief for the project, to include discussion of client’s wishes as to accommodation, quality, cost and time.
  • Agree communication methods, and person authorised to give client instructions to the architect. Agree approximate project timescale.
  • Examine the site and make an initial appraisal of it’s possibilities.
  • Prepare outline design proposal to respond to client’s requirements for the project. Present the proposal to the client and discuss its implications. Provide initial advice on project cost.
  • Advise on the need for specialist consultants.
  • Advise on planning, building and safety and health regulations as these bear on the project.
  • Advise on effect of suggested improvements on BER certificate
  • Agree project estimated cost, scope of service and designer’s charges in writing.

Work Stage 2: Developed Proposals and Official Consents

  • Further consider the brief and the site, and based on the outline proposal and further discussions with the client, develop the design for the project
  • Prepare further sketch drawings to illustrate the developed design.
  • Incorporate statutory requirements of planning, building and safety and health regulations as appropriate to this stage of the project.
  • Assess existing building for BER certification if a BER does not already exist.
  • Incorporate into the project the work of any specialist consultants.
  • Present the developed proposal to the client and discuss its implications. Provide further advice on project cost and timescale in writing.
  • If planning permission is required for the project, make the application.

Work Stage 3: Detail Design and Tender

  • Develop the detail design for the project, including construction details, site works, finishes and fittings as appropriate at this stage of the project.
  • Prepare project technical and quality specifications.
  • Further incorporate the detail work of any consultants.
  • Further incorporate statutory requirements and any changes as required under a Grant of Planning Permission as appropriate to this stage of the project.
  • Prepare Fire Safety Certificate and Disabled Access Certificate applications if required.
  • Prepare Forms of Tender for main and any specialist subcontracts.
  • Advise client on provisions of standard Forms of Building Contract.
  • Advise client on insurance during construction.
  • Prepare lists of contractors for tendering or negotiating purposes.

Circulate material to tenderers,  invite competitive tenders.

Work Stage 4: Appointment of Builders and Works on Site

  • Report on tenders received and advise client on how  to proceed.
  • Arrange building contract between client and building contractor.
  • Submit Commencement Notice if required
  • Visit the site as appropriate to inspect generally the progress and quality of the work and see that the contractor is fulfilling his obligations to the client.
  • Modify the design in response to site conditions, if required.
  • When construction work accords with the contract documents, issue the client with certificates of payment due to the contractor.
  • Value the final account for the works.
  • Issue a BER Certificate for the house on completion of the works
  • Inspect the work at the end of the building contract defects liability period.
  • List any defects then requiring remedial work by contractor and inspect contractor’s making good of defects.
  • Issue last payment certificate.
  • Issue Architect’s Opinions on Compliance with Planning and Building Regulations for title purposes.


(If required these are charged at an agreed hourly rate)

  • Make inspections, prepare reports, and advise on condition of existing buildings
  • Make measured surveys; prepare plans of existing buildings and of sites
  • Negotiate and prepare drawings relating to party walls
  • Make structural or services engineering calculations and designs:
  • Arrange for percolation tests on the site
  • Conduct exceptional negotiations with planning/building control authorities
  • Make changes to agreed plans.
  • Make detailed wall and floor tiling layouts and designs, and select tiles
  • Assist client in preparing applications for grant aid
  • Provide life cycle cost analysis for elements of the project:
  • Provide services in connection with planning appeals
  • Prepare land registry maps
  • Advise on loose furniture, artwork, and special interior design services
  • Advise on building maintenance
  • Provide as-built drawings
  • Work to buildings listed for preservation in conservation areas
  • Detailed advice on lifetime design
  • Detailed advice on sustainability



  • Additional printing and copying of drawings and other documents
  • Planning application fee
  • Newspaper and site notices
  • Ordnance Survey maps
  • Fire Safety Certificate and Disabled Access Certificate applications
  • Site investigations
  • Additional postage, telephone, fax, courier
  • Photography
  • Making architectural models

Value Added Tax at the standard rate is chargeable on expenses

Costs: Statutory Fees: Planning/FSC/DAC application charges and Commencement Notices:



The architect warrants that s/he is a Registered Member of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.


The architect will:

  • exercise reasonable skill and care on the project in accordance with the normal standards of the architect’s profession, and will provide the client with the services agreed,
  • not start any Work Stage without the client so requesting
  • take account of the client’s budget
  • make only such alterations, additions and omissions in the agreed drawings and specifications as s/he considers in the client’s interest, and inform the client of such alterations, additions, omissions and of their cost implications
  • keep the client informed of any significant increases in cost during construction, act on the client’s behalf in the matters set out in this agreement, and
  • administer the building contract as the client’s agent, while acting impartially between the client and contractor.


The client will:

  • provide the architect with all the information necessary to enable the appropriate design to be prepared
  • employ a contractor under a separate agreement to undertake building or other works
  • hold that contractor (and not the architect) responsible for the supervision of construction work, for the operational methods, techniques, sequence of procedures and safety precautions, for the proper execution and completion on time of the building work, for any design work the contractor undertakes, and for the remedying of defects in accordance with the terms of his contract with the client, and not engage anybody to do any work on .the project unless the architect so agrees, as this may have implications for the building contract.


Specialist consultants, sub-contractors or suppliers may be appointed on the architect’s recommendation in relation to specialist trades and for goods or services forming part of the building works. Where such person designs part of the work, the client shall separately engage and pay those people and shall hold them solely responsible for the performance of their design.

Inspection of building work 

During Work Stage 4 the architect will visit the site at intervals s/he considers appropriate to the stage of construction to inspect the progress and quality of the work and to determine that the work is being carried out generally in accordance with the contract documents. Frequent or constant inspection does not form part of the standard service at (A). It is the contractor’s responsibility to supervise the building work.

Charges and costs incurred

Percentage charges are calculated on the VAT exclusive value of the building, including fitting-out and loose furniture work with which the architect is involved. Before tenders are obtained, that value is the architect’s estimate of cost. After tenders are obtained, the value is the lowest tender{s). After building work is done, the value is the final account{s) for the work.

Where no building contract is to be entered into, the costs of the work will be calculated using the RIAl Cost Data Base figures for such work. Where costs cannot be agreed at Stage 1, the RIAl Cost Data figures shall be used.

Time charges are based on hourly rates for principals and other professional and technical staff. The architect will keep records of time spent on any services performed on a time charge has is, and make such records available to the client on reasonable request.

Where the architect is being reimbursed for costs incurred, he will maintain records of all such costs, and make such records available to the client on reasonable request.

Invoices are to be paid no later than 28 days after they are received by the client. The architect will not start work on a Work Stage until any invoices for work on previous Work Stages have been paid in full.

Omitted work and Changes

The architect will be entitled to charge for work done to Work Stage 3 in respect of all work included in the tender or estimated cost which the client subsequently omits from the project, and to charge at hourly rates for any changes at the client’s request of designs which the client has previously approved.

Architect’s liability

The architect’s liability shall extend to a term of six years beginning on

  • (a) the architect’s issue of the Certificate of Practical Completion under the building contract,
  • (b) the conclusion of the service
  • (c) the termination of the commission as the circumstances dictate, and the architect’s liability shall terminate as soon as anyone of these terms has expired; and to the cost of making good any construction defects which are established as being caused by the architect’s negligence or breach of contract, but not to the cost of making good any loss consequential on such defects.


Copyright in all drawings and documents prepared by the architect and in any work carried out from those documents shall remain the architect’s property. The architect grants the client a licence to use, for this project only, the designs which the client has commissioned, provided that the charges to the appropriate Work Stage have been paid by the client.

Suspension and termination

The client may suspend the architect’s performance of any or all of the agreed services, and either party may terminate the architect’s appointment, on the expiry of reasonable notice given in writing.

On suspension or termination of the architect’s appointment, s/he will be entitled to be paid for all work completed up to that time. Where the client suspends or terminates the appointment, the architect will be entitled to an allowance for loss of profit, to be one- tenth of the agreed amount which would have been charged had the architect been retained for the following Work Stage.


The client and the architect agree to seek to amicably resolve any disputes or misunderstandings between them. They note the informal mediation services which the RIAI may provide in this regard.

Any dispute as to the proper interpretation of this document may, by agreement between the client and the architect, be referred to the President of the RIAl or to the President’s nominee for a ruling, provided that such a ruling is sought on a joint statement of: undisputed facts and the parties undertake to accept the ruling as final and binding.

Any dispute relating to any of the provisions of this agreement may be referred to conciliation in accordance with the conciliation procedures published by the RIAl. If a settlement of the dispute is not reached under the conciliation procedures either party may refer the dispute to arbitration. These procedures are described in the RIAl Building Contract Forms.

Any other dispute, provided that notice of such dispute shall have been referred by either party to the other in writing, shall be referred to the arbitration and final decision of such person as the parties may agree to appoint as Arbitrator, or failing agreement within 14 days of a request in writing by one party to the other to concur in the appointment of an Arbitrator, by a person to be nominated by the President of the RIAl on the application of either party. The award of such arbitration shall be final and binding on the parties. Every such reference shall be deemed to be a submission to Arbitration within the meaning of the Arbitration Acts 1954/1998 or the Arbitration (Northern Ireland) Act 1957 or any Act amending the same or either of them.

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland

Founded in 1839, the RIAI is the representative body for professionally qualified architects in Ireland; and is designated by the State as the Competent Authority for the Architectural Profession in Ireland in relation to the EU Architects’ Directive. The affix MRIAI is recognized under Article 11 of EU Directive 85/384/EEC on the mutual recognition of diplomas, certificates and other evidence of formal qualifications in architecture. The Institute is a member of the Architects’ Council of Europe and of the International Union of Architects. The Institute 5 objectives include the advancement of architecture; the promotion of high standards of professional conduct and practice; and the protection of architectural training and education. and maintained by information programmes and obligatory continuing professional development. Institute publications, which may interest clients undertaking domestic work, include ‘Working with your Architect’ and are available on request.