NSW ARB Short Form Architect Client Contract 2019

The Board is pleased to announce the launch of its Short Form Architect Client Contract 2019. The SFACC can be downloaded from the Board’s website and is a free online resource to assist architects to meet their obligations under the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct 2017.

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WHEN is a Client Agreement required in NSW?

All architects are required by law to enter into a written agreement with their clients concerning the provision of architectural services before commencing to provide those services.

Clause 7 of the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct 2017 (the Code), requires that:

(1) An architect must enter into a written agreement with the client concerning the provision of architectural services.

and

(4) The architect must enter into the agreement before commencing to provide the architectural services unless:

  1. It is not reasonable to do so in the circumstances, or
  2. The architectural services to be provided are urgent, in which case, the agreement must be provided to the client within a reasonable time after commencing to provide the architectural services.

WHAT is the NSW ARB Short Form Architect Client Contract?

The NSW ARB Short Form Architect Client Contract (SFACC) is a free online resource to assist architects to meet their obligations under the Code.

The SFACC comprises a covering letter, services schedule and standard terms of agreement.

The SFACC complies with the extensive list of inclusions and requirements that must be present within a Client Agreement under Clause 7 of the Code. These requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Identification of the parties to the agreement;
  • Outline of the scope of architectural services to be provided;
  • How professional fees, costs and disbursements are to be calculated;
  • How communication is to occur between the architect and client regarding the progress of the architectural services and any changes required to the architectural services;
  • How the agreement may be varied or terminated;
  • Provision for alternative dispute resolution.

WHY has the Board developed the SFACC?

A significant number of complaints against architects made to the Board relate to situations where the architect has failed to enter into a compliant, written Client Agreement at the start of the project.

One of the Board’s key roles is to protect consumers of architectural services by ensuring that architects provide services to the public in a professional and competent manner in line with the Architects Act 2003 and the Code.

Evidence shows that a concise short form Client Agreement is in the best interest of protecting consumers as it provides clients with a better understanding of the basis to their agreement with their architect.

HOW to use the SFACC?

See the publications library SFACC page.

Download documents

The SFACC comprises a covering letter, services schedule and standard terms of agreement.

Both the covering letter and services schedule are designed to be highly customisable to suit the particular needs of individual projects. You can download the covering letter and services schedule as a Word document to be edited as required.

The Standard Terms are intended for use without amendment. You can download the Standard Terms as a PDF document. Legal advice should be sought by anyone intending to make amendments to the Standard Terms.

The Board is currently working on a more sophisticated online interface that will allow architects to generate customised Client Agreements on a project-by-project basis. This will include a facility for saving favourite versions of stages of service, fees and rates, disbursements etc to make generating each new agreement faster. The Board will notify all architects when this facility becomes available in 2020.

WHO can use the SFACC?

The SFACC is available free of charge to registered architects and for the information of consumers of architectural services who intend to contract with registered architects.

WHERE can I find other proforma Client Agreements relevant to NSW architects?

There are other commercially available Client Agreements relevant to NSW Architects. However, unlike the SFACC which is available for free of charge, other products are protected by paywalls.

The Australian Institute of Architects publishes the Client Architect Agreement (CAA2019) for design and building projects of various sizes and complexity. It also publishes the Client Architect Agreement for Limited Services (CAALS2019) for small, less complex projects or partial services. Both documents are free to all Institute members or can be purchased in hardcopy by non-members.

The Association of Consulting Architects publishes the Short Form Architect Client Agreement for the use of ACA members as part of the ACA Business Toolbox.

NEED MORE INFORMATION?

Please refer to the NSW Architects Code of Professional Conduct – Section 7.

If you have other questions please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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