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‘The Architect’ refers to Coverite Projects

‘The Client’ refers to You

“you” refers to the client who is signatory to these terms


The architect must:

  • Perform the services agreed with the client (“you”):
    • With integrity and with reasonable professional skill, care, diligence and promptness expected of an architect engaged on projects similar to the project which the services relate and in compliance with the code of conduct; and
    • In accordance with relevant laws, standards, codes, and guides
  • Only offer services within the architect’s skill and competency
  • Communicate with you reasonably promptly, respectfully and regularly
  • Provide relevant information to you in writing in relation to the services agreed to be provided and the matters set out in clause 6 and 8 of the code of conduct
  • Confirm in writing with you the key information discussed and your instructions
  • Agree on reasonable time frames with you having regard to the nature and extent of instructions provided
  • Provide the services in accordance with the agreed time frames
  • Advise you as soon as the architect becomes reasonably aware of any delay in meeting an agreed timeframe, explain the basis for the delay and endeavor to reach an agreement on a new reasonable timeframe with you
  • Advise you to obtain specialist advice or services from a suitably qualified person other than an architect if the architect believes it is in your interests to do so
  • Advise you as to the progress of the services, in a manner and frequency agreed with you
  • Manage cost expectations by:
    • Requesting a preliminary budget during design brief communications
    • Providing a return design brief to you before proceeding with concept design(s)
    • Notifying you of each material matter likely to see a change including an increase in the cost, duration, or complication (buildability) of the works (“the change”); and
    • The need for you to provide clear instructions, confirmed in writing, about how the architect is to proceed based on the change
  • Comply with the architect’s obligations in relation to record keeping and your entitlement to inspect certain records as set out in the code of conduct
  • Comply with the architect’s disclosure of conflicts of interest’ obligations under the code of conduct

The Client (You) must:

  • Be prepared before initially meeting with the architect (the design brief meeting) and at every subsequent agreed meeting with the architect
  • Communicate with the architect:
    • Promptly, respectfully and regularly to avoid delay costs and maintain momentum;
    • To agree on timeframes;
    • To provide all information, documents and directions required by the architect to perform and complete the services;
    • To fully co-operate and ensure the efficient performance of the services
    • To provide timely feedback and approval for each stage before the architect continues to the next;
    • If you become aware of being unable to comply with the preceding points all or in accordance with agreed timeframes; and
    • If you are not happy with something
  • Manage cost expectations by:
    • Providing a reasonable preliminary budget during design brief communications;
    • Providing a carefully considered design brief; and
    • Providing clear instructions confirmed in writing about how you want the architect to proceed against any changes likely to see an increase in the cost, duration, or complication (buildability) of the works.
  • Enter into direct contracts with specialist consultants that are in the opinion of the architect reasonably required. These consultant contracts will include a direct responsibility for you to pay to the specialist consultants all fees and other costs agreed under those contracts
  • Allow the architect reasonable access to the project site before, during and after the provision of their services
  • Allow the architect to erect signage at the project site
  • Grant permission to the architect or their agent to photograph the project and use the project, and any material generated by it, for awards programs, publications, marketing and promotion

Earlier Services

  • Unless agreed in writing to the contrary, any earlier services the architect has provided or agreed to provide to you which are in any way related to the works the subject of this contract, shall also be subject to the terms and conditions of this contract


  • Unless agreed to the contrary and confirmed in writing, the services shall be provided stage by stage, as follows:
    • Discovery Meeting
    • Concept Design
    • Developed Design (Approval Applications & Permits)
    • Technical Design (Construction Documentation)
    • Contract Administration
  • If the architect considers it will be efficient or expedient to commence more than one stage of the services concurrently, or to commence specific items from subsequent stages prior to commencement of that stage, the architect must obtain your consent, which must be confirmed in writing
  • The architect must obtain your consent, which must be confirmed in writing, before selecting any contractor or consultant to perform work or services in relation to the project


  • You and the architect may vary/change the scope of the services only by agreement confirmed in writing by the parties
  • The following procedure is to apply to any variations or changes of the kind described under this clause:
    • You must direct the variation (including a direction to provide services which in the architect’s opinion amounts to a variation) orally or in writing
    • The architect is to confirm the terms of the variation in writing including:
      • The scope of the variation
      • The fee, hourly rates to apply, or other proposed mechanism for valuing the variation; and
      • Whether part of the previously agreed upon services have been replaced and is no longer relevant
    • If you do not confirm the terms of the variation by agreement in writing (or any amended terms satisfactory to both parties) within five business days of receipt of those terms, the project may be delayed
    • The architect is entitled to a re-design variation if the architect is directed by you to depart at any time from:
      • The concept design options; and/or
      • The scope of the design or works
      • If there is a re-design variation, the architect must promptly provide a written notice to you:
        • Identifying the nature of the re-design variation; and
        • Either:
          • Advising you of the fees for the re-design variation; or
          • If the fees are not reasonably capable of being determined in advance, the architect must propose a method for immediately valuing the re-design variation once it is completed
  • If you do not within five business days of receipt of that notice confirm agreement in writing of both the scope of and the fee for the re-design variation (including where relevant the method for determining the re-design variation), the project may be delayed


  • The architect may provide a tax invoice to you for any deposit
    • On or after the date of this contract
    • Regardless of whether the architect has performed any services
  • The deposit will be accounted for in the tax invoice the architect provides at the completion of the services or the earlier termination of this contract
  • You, as the client must pay the architect:
    • The amount of each tax invoice within the time provided for; and
    • Interest at the rate set out in any overdue payments
  • Acknowledge that the architect may deduct any overdue payments from any deposit held by the architect


  • The architect must for the architectural services being provided or to be provided to you:
    • Maintain an appropriate policy of professional indemnity insurance;
    • Provide you with information relating to that insurance maintained;
    • Maintain public liability insurance (as is available upon reasonable commercial terms); and
    • Maintain workers' compensation insurance (employers liability insurance) (as required by law).


  • All copyrights coming into existence in connection with the performance of the services vest in and are owned by the architect
  • The architect grants you a revocable, non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the documents created by the architect once only for the construction of the project at the nominated project address
  • Attribution for the design must be made to the architect in any use
    • After giving reasonable notice, take such project records, including photographic records; and
    • Publish such materials
  • The services exclude the provision of any documents in digital formats other than portable document format (PDF)
  • If there is any dispute in relation to copyright, the provisions of this contract must be followed.

Consumer Law, Release & Limit of Liability

  • Subject to this section and to the extent permitted by law, you release, hold harmless and indemnify the architect for, from and against any actual or alleged, direct or indirect, costs, losses, damages, fines, penalties and any other monetary consequence or liability in contract, under statute or at law incurred by the architect arising out of or in connection with this contract, the works or the project at large:
    • Arising out of or in connection with personal injury (including death) to or affecting you or anyone, defects and property damage to or affecting you or anyone, financial loss to or affecting you or anyone, any statutory, regulatory, or supervisory investigation or proceeding involving anyone (except for the architect where it involves the NSW ARB); and
    • Whether arising out of or in connection with allegations made by you, a party you have contracted with, party the architect has contracted with, or anyone else, or an authority or regulator or other supervisory body (except the NSW ARB),
  • Except to the extent the architect is covered under their public liability or professional indemnity insurance policy as applicable.


  • Suspension by the architect:
    • If you fail to pay in full any one or more of the tax invoices provided by the architect within the time provided for, the architect may (on giving five business days’ written notice) suspend the performance of all or part of the services and exercise their rights under the provisions of this contract
    • In the event that:
      • Agreement is not reached as to the amount payable under the dispute resolution process; or
      • You breach the terms of payment under the dispute resolution process;
    • The architect may, if the architect still assesses you are in default, exercise their rights under this contract without prejudice to either party’s rights to dispute the validity of the termination
  • Resuming Performance after suspension:
    • The architect may, on giving five business days’ written notice, resume the performance of the services or the relevant part
    • The architect must, on being paid in accordance with the process in this contract or otherwise, resume the performance of the services or the relevant part within five business days
  • Consequences of suspension:
    • If the architect exercises their rights:
      • You may not terminate this contract under the general law (or otherwise) without complying with the dispute resolution and termination provisions in this contract;
      • The project may be delayed beyond the actual period of suspension; and
      • The copyright license granted under the above, is revoked during the period of the suspension


  • In the event that the parties are in dispute or disagreement or allege a breach of an obligation under this contract, or at law or under statute otherwise, it is a requirement that alternative dispute resolution takes place. The following alternative dispute resolution process must be followed:
    • Before commencing a formal dispute in writing, the party who initiates the dispute or disagreement including any assertion that the other party is in breach of their obligations under this contract or at law or under statute otherwise ("the issues") must:
      • Contact the other party to discuss the issues (and any issues the other party has, which they must also raise in response) ("the discussion"); or
      • Arrange a meeting to hold the discussion; and
      • The other party must agree to have the discussion; and
      • The discussion is to occur in a clear, respectful, non-emotive manner;
    • If after the discussion any of the issues are unresolved, a party must give a written notice ("dispute notice") to the other party:
      • Setting out the issues in a concise, clear, respectful, non-emotive manner;
      • Setting out how they would like to see the issues resolved; and
      • Proposing a place and not less than three dates and times within a period of the next five business days for a meeting to take place to resolve the issues
    • The other party must:
      • Set out in concise, clear, respectful, non-emotive manner their relevant response to the issues including any of their own issues;
      • Set out how the party would like to see the issues resolved; and
      • Agree to one of the three dates and times proposed by the party for the meeting (or propose three new dates which are no later than a further period of five business days thereafter);
    • The parties must then meet in good faith and in a respectful and non-emotive manner for a resolution discussion to achieve a complete resolution of, or at least seek to minimise, the issues and to the extent there is resolution of the issues, document that resolution in writing; and
    • To the extent there is a failure to achieve a complete resolution of all the issues documented in writing within 15 business days of the giving of the dispute notice, this shall be a deemed failure to reach a complete resolution.
    • The parties are permitted to have one non-legally qualified support person attend any meetings referred to
    • In the event the parties are unable to reach a complete resolution, a party may within a further 10 business days of the date applicable, contact the Registrar of the NSW ARB requesting that the parties be referred to mediation under the NSW ARBs alternative dispute resolution process and the parties must then participate in and shall be guided by this process
    • In the event this clause does not result in a complete resolution of all the issues, the parties may utilise their other rights under this contract under statue and at law
    • The existence of a disagreement does not excuse any party from performing their respective obligations under this contract (except those in respect of which the disagreement exists)
      • To the extent you are a consumer under the ACL and have any claim under this contract arising out of any Consumer Guarantee, then you are encouraged to follow, but are not bound by, the dispute resolution procedures set out in this clause.


  • This contract may be terminated:
    • By agreement of the parties which must be confirmed in writing; or
    • With either party giving no less than 10 business days' notice of termination in writing to the other party if there are no disputes, disagreements or alleged breaches of obligations; or
    • If there are disputes, disagreements or alleged breaches of obligations between the parties, with either party giving no less than 10 business days' notice of termination in writing to the other party after completion of the dispute resolution process; or
    • By the architect, in order to comply with the code of conduct, which provides that the architect must withdraw from the provision of any architectural services if the architect reasonably believes that, in the architect's professional judgment, the provision of services would require the architect to act in a manner that the architect considers unethical, or in contravention of the relevant Act, The Regulation or the code of conduct. Under this contract, such withdrawal may occur by the architect giving no less than 2 business days' notice of termination in writing.
  • Upon a party giving notice of termination under the above clause, the architect must promptly issue a tax invoice setting out details of the following:
    • The unbilled value of the services performed to the date of the notice;
    • The additional unbilled value of the services to be performed from the date of the notice up to the effective date of termination (if any);
    • The unbilled value of the disbursement incurred to the date of the notice (including any administration fee);
    • Allowance for monies received on account for unbilled services or disbursements
  • Unless otherwise established at law, you, as the client, are liable to pay the architect the amount of the tax invoice referred to in the previous clause and any interest applicable under this contract in the event of late payment


  • The parties acknowledge that, unless otherwise expressly stated, all amounts of monetary consideration in this contract are exclusive of GST
  • Unless otherwise expressly stated, you, as the client, are responsible for GST

Explanatory Notes

Your guide to navigating the design & documentation process

Explanatory Note 1 - Architect's Act

Explanatory Note 2 - Code of Professional Conduct

Explanatory Note 3 - The Design Brief

The design brief provided by you during the design brief stage is to assist your architect in assessing what can be realistically built and what options might be available to you having regard to your preliminary budget

Explanatory Note 4 - Architect's Registration Boards

Explanatory Note 5 - The Budget

It is important to have a clear understanding of the meaning of what is a preliminary budget as this is a common source of confusion and can lead to dispute and misalignment between you and your architect. Here, your preliminary budget is not intended to be a reference to what other people might call a total project budget but typically:

  • Includes an allowance for the cost of works (excl GST)
  • Includes an allowance for your architect’s services and fees (excl GST)
  • Assists your architect in providing a return design brief; and
  • Assists your architect in assessing and providing realistic concept design option(s) as well as any initial indicative costings

The preliminary budget excludes fees, taxes, levies or other charges payable to council or other specialist consultants that may be needed, including disbursements and the like. This is because your architect will not have investigated in detail these additional costs at this point and they will change depending on your instructions on your design from time to time.

You and your architect need to discuss whether and when you would like your architect to investigate any fees, taxes, levies or other charges payable to council or other specialist consultants that may be needed on this project, disbursements and the like to assist you in your overall total project budget considerations.

Explanatory Note 6 - Quoting

Please note that an initial indicative budget costing will be provided by Coverite Projects together with your concept design. This will be adjusted from time to time as the design progresses and as variables occur. The final quote accompanying the technical architectural documentation and contract supersede the initial budget costing.

Explanatory Note 7 - Design Fees

Your architect’s fees are calculated:

  • As a percentage of the cost of works as agreed for each stage of the service; or
  • As a lump sum; or
  • On the basis of hourly rates; or
  • A combination of some or all of these.

Explanatory Note 8 - Design & Documentation Stages

The stages of services for architectural projects have traditionally been conceived as a series of independent activities in a linear process. However, it is increasingly recognised that the design and documentation of buildings may be a non-linear process and that stages may overlap. It is sometimes the case that more than one stage may be undertaken concurrently in the interests of efficiency and expediency. If your architect considers it is desirable to commence more than one stage concurrently, they will advise you and obtain your consent, confirmed in writing.

Explanatory Note 9 - Partial Services

There are pros and cons to partial services, where you may pay your architect only to prepare the construction certificate or complying development certificate documentation and not the complete set of documentation required for the project to be constructed. If you decide to proceed with partial services, you should be aware that while the architectural services will cost less, there is a risk that what you set out to achieve is compromised in terms of the overall scheme or the quality of the finished product.

Explanatory Note 10 - The Brief

In preparing for a design brief meeting, you should give clear thought to:

  • Whether you are exploring a new build, alterations and additions, renovation or possibly all of the above;
  • The type of rooms or structures (e.g., swimming pool), and number of rooms envisaged to be built, altered, added or renovated; and
  • Your preferred aesthetics, styles and construction materials.

Helpful references:

Explanatory Note 11 - Communication

It is very important that you communicate clearly with your architect at all times. Lack of communication is a major cause of misunderstandings that can lead to relationship breakdowns.

Explanatory Note 12 - The Role of the Client

It is crucial to the success of a project that you take an active role at all times in understanding the budget and the affordability of the project; and in communicating all concerns about this to your architect promptly and clearly. You should clearly indicate to your architect whether or not you have a fixed and finite amount of money. You should also tell your architect if money is less critical and your priority is to optimise the exploration of design solutions to the brief scenario (irrespective of cost or within given financial limits).

Helpful references:

Explanatory Note 13 - Cost Consultancy

An architect is neither a contractor nor a quantity surveyor, however at Coverite Project we provide each of these services in house. The teams work together to execute their scope of practice informing each other and co-operating to achieve your project. However disciplines will not overlap – for example, your architect will not offer you cost advice, they will defer to our specialised cost consultants. As with all parties who provide estimates, all indications of cost will be subject to assumptions and limitations as more fully described in earlier clauses of this contract. It is highly recommended that a specialist cost consultant is used to provide an estimate for the cost of the design early in the process. Clients who choose not to utilise this service do so at their own risk.

Explanatory Note 14 - Variations

Any change in the design or works may constitute a re-design variation, including, but not limited to:

  • Changes in the scope of works, such as adding a swimming pool or a window to the brief after the concept design stage;
  • Changes in levels, dimensions and positions of work, such as increasing the ceiling height or dropping the floor level of a garage to fit a boat after the concept design stage; and
  • Significant changes in the character of the design or quality of the work or construction materials.

Explanatory Note 15 - Copyright & Intellectual Property

Copyright is explained in more detail in:

Explanatory Note 16 - Dispute Resolution

Parties should aim to resolve any dispute or disagreement before the relationship between them completely breaks down. The Board offers an alternative dispute resolution pathway focused on the ability for both parties to seek a resolution to the matter in an informal and impartial setting. It is recommended that you read:

Explanatory Note 17 - Termination

Termination of a contract is a serious matter and you are advised to seek legal advice. If termination is being considered in the context of a dispute or disagreement between the parties, you should consider the Board’s alternative dispute resolution pathway that is focused on the ability for both parties to seek a resolution to the matter in an informal and impartial setting. It is recommended that you read: