Monthly Archives: August 2004

Architects’ terms of appointment

When preparing the design consultancy agreement for the development of the new Hong Kong airport terminal some years ago, I was severely done over by the design consortium’s contract representative (a large, heavily perfumed engineer with a penchant for loud stripy suits and pocket handkerchiefs).  He was a force to be reckoned with.

He lead me through my drafting, page by page angrily pointing out split infinitives (I looked blank) and other transgressions.  His coupe de grace was that I was presenting them with a contract, like some nasty commercial arrangement, and not an agreement which gentlemen and trusted friends would enter into.  I felt times had changed, but did not have the courage to enlighten the formidable gentleman.

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Architects’ appointments

Architects’ responsibilities, whether as set by the Institute of Architects, or imposed by the law, fall into three distinct categories:

  • As designer, the architect is specialist.  The designs are used for consenting, costing and contracting.  Any design error is covered by professional indemnity insurance.
  • As supervisor, the architect monitors performance under the contract and issues instructions and variations and approves costs.
  • As the first stage in the disputes process, the architect is the independent professional.

The relationships arising from these roles will often give rise to unmanageable conflicts of interest.  While balancing acting as the owner’s agent, the architect must protect the integrity of the design and keep in context relationships with contractors and subcontractors, with whom there is probably a longer term relationship, if not stronger, than with the owner.

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Architects’ liability to owners

In two English cases, the High Court and the Court of Appeal had reason to consider the relationship between architects and property owners in tort and in negligence.

Tesco Stores Ltd v Costain Construction Ltd & Ors [2003] EWHC 1487

Sahib Foods Ltd & Anor v Paskin Kyriakides Sands [2003] EWCA Civ 1832

This article was published in the NZIA journal, Cross Section

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Transparency & good governance in public sector procurement

Despite twenty years of public sector reforms and the corresponding reduction of the state sector, the purchasing power of central and local government, and their respective agencies, remains an important part of the New Zealand economy.

Core government expenditure[1] for the 2004 year is forecast to be $35,367 million, which represents 26.39% of GDP for the same period, of $134,034 million[2] (compared to 11% of European Community GDP in 1996, the most recent figures available[3]).  The most recent figures for local government expenditure[4],for the 2002 year, total $1,779 million[5].  Based on these figures, procurement procedures adopted at all levels of government, and the policies reflected in them, have real significance to a wide range of interest groups.

This research paper was submitted for my Master of Laws degree subject on Comparative Administrative Law in 2004

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