Architectural Profession

Architect's Professional Services

Building is often a once in a lifetime venture. It involves considerable expenditure and the prospective building owner is well advised to enlist the services of an expert. To safeguard his own interests and avoid costly mistakes he should have expert advice on his decisions that only a professional relationship could provide. An architect combines creative design with a wide range of technical knowledge to provide integrated solutions for built and natural environments in thoroughly professional manner.

Three main characteristics distinguish the Professional Adviser from others (such as tradesmen and commercial firms) who can and frequently do supply information and advice.

  • Has no financial interest in any product or process and his advice is not biased like that of a tradesman or a commercial firm,
  • Being given information about products and services, he goes on to share with his Client the responsibility for deciding how to act in the light of that information, whereas a tradesman or a commercial firm has no responsibility for the decision,
  • With a duty both to his Client and to the society in general, the Professional Adviser upholds the traditions and codes of his profession. In the light of these, he performs his job honestly and well, devoid of self-interest.

As such The Architect has a threefold role to play when providing Architectural Services. Those are to act as an Accredited Agent, as a Professional Advisor and as a Quasi Arbitrator to the Project respectively.

  • As an Accredited Agent he is expected to design and ensure implementation of the architectural project on behalf of the Client,
  • As a Professional Advisor he is expected to provide expert professional information and advice or arrange expert professional advice on other services to be provided by other Professionals connected with building activities. Further, he has to provide Project Costing & Management Services,
  • As a Quasi Arbitrator he has to administer the Building Contract in keeping with the Conditions of Contract and other documents connected with the Project, which are called Contract Documents in fairness to both parties to the Contract.

Chartered Architect

By the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (Amendment) Act No. 14 of 1996, the term ‘Chartered Architect’ is protected and cannot be used by those other than Corporate Members of the Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA). The qualifications of Chartered Architects are properly authenticated, their ability, knowledge and familiarity with Sri Lankan requirements tested and their practice regulated through a strict Code of Professional Conduct.

Registration under Architects Registration Board

The 1996 Act also specifies the setting up of an Architects Registration Board (ARB).Three categories of persons are registered annually under the ARB. They are Chartered Architects, Architects and Architectural Licentiates. The use of the terms “Chartered Architect”, “Architect” and “Architectural Licentiate” is protected by the Act, The lists of those registered with the ARB are gazetted annually. Those who register with ARB are issued a rubber stamp annually.

The Code of Professional Conduct

Sri Lanka Institute of Architects’ (SLIA) Code of Professional Conduct is designed to protect the owner, the builder and the Public. Powers vested in the Institute by Parliament provides it authority to take punitive action against those who violate any of its provisions. Thus, a Chartered Architect or a Registered Member of the SLIA, & Architectural Licentiates who are registered with the ARB unlike unauthorized persons are constrained from engaging in malpractices.

It is important to note that most of the non-members and other professionals, who call themselves Architects, do not have a code of conduct and have not taken a Professional Oath to protect their Clients. As such, they can engage in consultancy work, construction, manufacturing of building materials and supply of materials at the same time, thus creating a conflict of interest.

Architectural Services & Architect’s Fees

2 main aspects to consider in obtaining an architect’s servicers and hence the fee are Types of service you are obtaining (Pre Design, Basic or Supplemental services) and the type of consultancy practice you would be employing (Architect’s Service, Consortium Service).

Services of an architect are divided in 3 basic groupings;

  • Pre Design Services - Marketing Studies, Feasibility Study, Selection & Engagement of other Consultants etc.
  • Basic Services - From Concept Design Stage to Post-Construction Stage including all the intermediate stage of a general construction process.
  • Supplemental Services - Site Analysis Services, Project Programming, Cost Analysis and Financial Services, Interior Architecture, Material and Equipment selection and Testing etc.

Method in which they are obtained:

  • Architect’s Service,
  • Consortium Service

(See Architectural Practices Section below)

The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects (SLIA) publishes a fee structure which has been formulated to enable Architects to provide satisfactory professional services.

The current Fee Scale and full explanation of architect’s services are included in the ‘SLIA Recommended Professional Fees and Conditions of Engagement’, a copy of which can be obtained from the Professional Affairs Board of the SLIA.

Architectural Practices

Architectural Services may be provided as an Architect’s Service (architecture only practice) in association with qualified professionals or as a consortium services with in-house professionals of different disciplines. While Consortium Services have an advantage in response time and coordination of the project work, purely architectural practices may have access to a wide range of professionals to choose from.

Whichever type of practice, all architectural consultancies listed in the SLIA Year Book, conform to the SLIA regulations, which in turn ensure maximum protection for the client and the provision of the highest architectural standards.

List of Architects are available here.

List of architectural Practices are available here.

Client-Architect Agreement

'SLIA Recommended Professional Fees and Conditions of Engagement' contains a template for the 'Agreement between the Owner and the Architect'. This document is commonly used by the members of SLIA to enter into a formal agreement with his/her client. When completed and executed as a contract it provides a statement of the service to be rendered and the fee to be charged. If the client has entered into a Consultancy Agreement based on the above Document he would have a great deal of protection as he could bring to the notice of the SLIA any dispute with the Architect.

Before signing such an Agreement, however, the Client should clearly understand the scope of the service and responsibilities of the Architect.