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Architect Consulting Agreement Template

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An architect consulting agreement is a written arrangement between an individual or entity and an architect consultant hired to assist in the development of a building project. The consultant may be entering into the agreement with the lead architect, the prime consultant, the general contractor, or the owner/financer of the operation (“client”). 

The parties will use the document to clearly define what the architect will be consulting on, negotiate the compensation amount and frequency of payments, and determine whether a retainer will be paid upfront. An architect consulting agreement helps define the role of the consultant as an independent contractor, stating that the client will not be responsible for Social Security and other taxes, workers’ compensation, and other benefits normally provided to employees.

Contents

Sample

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ARCHITECT CONSULTING AGREEMENT

This Architect Consulting Agreement (the “Agreement”) is entered into on [MM/DD/YYYY] by and between [CLIENT NAME] (the “Client”) and [ARCHITECT NAME] (the “Architect”).

1. SERVICES. The Client hereby engages the Architect to provide design consulting services (the “Services”) as described as follows: [DESCRIBE SERVICES]. Any images or further context shall be attached hereto.

2. PAYMENT. The Client shall pay the Architect $[PAYMENT] for the Services. The fee shall be paid as follows: [PAYMENT SCHEDULE].

3. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. All intellectual property rights in the Services and documents created or provided by the Architect shall be owned by the Client. The Architect shall not use such intellectual property for any purpose other than providing the Services to the Client.

4. CONFIDENTIALITY. The Architect shall keep all information relating to the Client and its business confidential.

5. REPRESENTATIONS AND WARRANTIES. The Architect represents and warrants that it has the knowledge and experience to perform the Services in a professional and workmanlike manner and in accordance with the standards generally accepted in the profession.

6. TERMINATION. The Agreement may be terminated by either party upon [#] days’ written notice.

7. GOVERNING LAW. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of [STATE].

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have executed this Agreement as of the date first set forth above.

_______________________
[CLIENT NAME]

_______________________
[ARCHITECT NAME]


What Architect Consultants Do

An architect consultant, also referred to as an architectural consultant or a consulting architect, is an individual licensed to provide expertise pertaining to designing, planning, developing, engineering, and other areas of an architectural project. An architect consultant may be hired to oversee many aspects of the design and development of a project, or their role could be specific and specialized.

Services

The following list includes a number of general services that architect consultants perform for clients:

  • Creating or reviewing blueprints.
  • Advising on safety standards.
  • Planning and budgeting.
  • Ensuring compliance with building codes and regulations.
  • Teaching construction techniques.
  • Improving aesthetic, practical, and structural development.

Length of Assignment

A consultant might only need to work with a team until the issues have been resolved, or their services might be required for the entire development process. A client may keep an architect consultant on retainer in order to gain constant access to the consultant’s knowledge and advice. 

Types of Consultants

Due to the complexity of building and development projects, there are often many different consultants brought in to provide insight. The list below contains a number of consulting professionals whose services might be required during a construction project.

  • Energy management consultant
  • Environmental consultant
  • Landscape architect consultant
  • Urban and regional planning consultant
  • Land surveyor
  • Planning consultant
  • Health and safety consultant
  • Acoustic consultant
  • Lighting consultant
  • Building code consultant
  • Security consultant
  • Furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) consultant
  • Specialist consultant (commercial kitchens, science/medical labs, heating/air conditioning, elevators/escalators, etc.)
  • Engineering consultant (civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, environmental, etc.)

How to Become an Architect Consultant

Pursuing a profession in architectural consulting means completing a number of steps to first become an architect before seeking a consulting position.

Step 1 – Bachelor’s Degree

After graduating from high school, a bachelor’s degree in architecture is the first step to becoming an architect, and in turn an architect consultant. The degree must come from a school acknowledged by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) in order for the student to become a licensed architect.

Step 2 – State Requirements

Each state has slightly different registration and licensing requirements for the architectural industry. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) breaks down all licensing rules and requirements per state.

Step 3 – Work Experience

In order to become licensed professionals, prospective architects must gain experience in the field. In most states, the Architectural Experience Program (AXP) designed by the NCARB is required by licensing boards. Other states may accept work experience outside of the AXP with references from licensed architects.

Step 4 – Licensing

Passing the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) is required to become a licensed architect in all states. There are fees for the exam, as well as application and renewal fees that vary between each state’s licensing board.

Step 5 – Portfolio

Since consultants are often hired because of their expertise in a particular field, architects must first gain experience by building up their portfolio, making a name for themselves, and gaining knowledge in specialized areas of architecture. Architect consultants may choose to work for an established company, or they can build up their client base and start their own consulting firm.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is a retainer?

A retainer is a fee paid to a consultant (or other professional) by a client to secure their services for an extended period of time. The fee will count towards billable hours, and any additional time spent on a project will require further compensation.

Is an architecture license valid in all states?

Maybe. Some states allow an architect to perform services without being registered to that particular jurisdiction. The shortlist currently includes Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, but there are a number of other states that may allow it under certain conditions.

However, if another architect is working on the project who is registered in the state and they agree to take responsibility for the project, most states allow non-locally licensed architects to consult on the project.