In 1995, the California Board of Architectural Examiners (CBAE) and The AIACC jointly sponsored AB 969, which requires that a written contract be executed between the architect and client prior to commencing work, unless the client knowingly states in writing that work may commence before the contract is executed.

The CBAE had experienced a rising number of complaints against architects for which there were no written agreements for services. The bill establishes communications between the architect and client regarding scope of services and payment. By discussing these issues, both client and architect should have a clearer understanding of expectations and thus lessen the possibility of litigation and complaints filed with the CBAE.

The Architects Written Contract requirement became effective on January 1, 1996, and includes:
• A description of services to be provided by the architect to the client;

• The name, address, and license number of the architect, and the name and address of the client;

• A description of the procedure that the architect and the client will use to accommodate additional services;

• A description of the procedure to be used by either party to terminate the contract; and

• A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract and the method of payment agreed upon by both parties.

AB 969 will not apply in any of the following circumstances:
• Pro-bono professional services rendered by an architect;

• An arrangement as to the basis for compensation and manner of providing professional services implied by the fact that the architect’s services are of the same general kind which the architect had previously rendered to and received payment from the same client;

• If the client knowingly states in writing after full disclosure of the section that a writing which complies with the requirement of the section is not required; and

• Professional services rendered by an architect to a professional engineer registered to practice engineering, or to a land surveyor.
For more information on the Architects Written Contract please contact The AIACC Regulation and Practice Department at (916) 448-9082.

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