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Private Work

edited September 2006 in architecture
This topic has probably been discussed before.

I am a graduate architect (not registered) and have been working in the industry for 2 years. I work for building designers but I have recently taken up a private job for a friend to produce drawings at concept, planning and working drawing stage for an extension to an existing residence. Currently the project is in council getting looked at for planning approval.

My question is what are the legal ramification of me producing working drawings privately? I am interested in knowing whether i can produce working drawings as i have no indemnity insurance? Should i be producing working drawings? Can i get the client to sign an agreement saying that any problems down the track with the extension that i can't be held responsible making it safe for me to produce the working drawings and what proccess i should go through to make this safe in a legal sense for me.

Any other issues to be highlighted will be appreciated.

If any one could help, it would be much appreciated.



  • dav_
    edited January 1970
    Hey GS.

    I'm in the same situation, but i've now gone a bit further and registered a business and all that hoo-ha. Do you ever get the feeling that the older architects have no interest in helping young guys get started? very uncool.

    The tack we are taking with PI is we make it very clear, in letters, contracts, verbals, that we have no PI, make it clear that you're a graduate and not an architect, and don't offer any kind of advice that you're not capable of. On top of that, if you don't have any assets, no-ones going to try to sue you ;).

    That's the best advice i can give, and since no one else is offering anything up, i hope it's useful. Meanwhile, the topic about the funny building names is going off! Don't worry guys, if we keep all the graduates from getting a head start then pretty soon we'll all be working for mirvac fini and we can spend all day thinking up funny building names! go architects!
  • habitus
    edited January 1970
  • Phil
    edited January 1970
    As you may have seen in another discussion if you are in Victoria it is illegal to undertake work without being registered and having PII. You may think you have no assets but you may be surprised. I doubt very much that you can legally get a client to sign away their rights at law to pursue you for negligence. It is worth noting that if a Client did manage to sue you to the point of Bankruptcy you basically would not be able to run your own business for some time as a bankrupt cannot be a Directoir under ASIC law.

    Not trying to be depressing but as someone who has been around quite a while thought I would lay it out....especially since some think that older members of the profession don't care


  • kashmir
    edited January 1970
    do architectural firms ever view extracurricular jobs as a conflict of interest?
  • Phil
    edited January 1970
    Hi Kashmir

    They sure can / do

    If i found one of my staff doing work for one of my clients on the side it would be instant dismissal.

    On the other hand historically a lot of practices took a dim view and often had codes of conduct that you didn't do PJ's. I think the rationale was if you are burning the midnight oil on Private jobs you will not be at your best during the day when you are working for them.

    My attitude is I know some of my staff do Private projects and I am fine with it. i draw the line though with Executive level staff.

  • audrieau
    edited January 1970
    I think that is entirely up to them whether they do private work and I wouldn't bother working for any company that had a problem with it. What they do in their own time isn't yours to control.

    If work is being affected by the midnight oil then judge that by the quality of work being produced rather than have a blanket policy. Unless maybe - you're the sort of company that has architects documenting toilets for years....

    Legally you can do PJs without being registered, but you must inform (in writing by the way), the client of both your level of education and experience and your position with insurance which is likely to be really high if you can get it at all. (This is one reason why building designers tend to do only extensions). The responsibility then becomes the clients, and if they proceed at all it will likely be at highly reduced rates. You need to take care you don't make yourself inadvertently responsible for engineers appointed as well. Always have the client appoint them direct.

    You can still be liable up under torts to a reasonable level expected of your qualifications and experience. Even a student undertaking PIs can be. What you must NOT do is use the work Architect, or Architecture, or words similiar.
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