The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract is for the appointment of an Architect or Consultant where the Architect/Consultant undertakes a commission for architectural services for simple, domestic projects of any value, in which the building works will be carried out using a traditional form of building contract, such as the RIBA Domestic Building Contract.
The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract has been prepared in accordance with the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and is an agreement between an Architect/Consultant and a consumer client relating to work to the client’s own home, including renovations, extensions, maintenance and new buildings, provided that the client has elected to enter into the agreement in their own name, ie. not as a limited company or legal entity or where the property will be let.
Under the CDM Regulations 2015, on projects with more than once contractor, a Principal Designer must be appointed to plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate health and safety in the pre-construction phase of a project. The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract has the option for the Architect/Consultant to be appointed as the Principal Designer. On domestic projects (projects for a consumer client), if the client does not appoint a Principal Designer, the designer in control of the pre-construction phase of the project is deemed to be the Principal Designer.
The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract is not suitable for works where the property is to be let or for commercial or residential work undertaken for business clients, including charities, religious organisations, not-for-profit bodies, or where the client is a public authority. The RIBA recommends the use of the RIBA Standard or Concise Professional Services Contract 2018 for commercial projects.
- is based on the RIBA Concise Professional Services Contract but is suitable for simple domestic projects of any value
- is for use with a consumer client, relating to work to the client’s own home – including renovations, extensions, maintenance and new buildings – provided that the client has elected to undertake the work in their own name and not as a limited company or other legal entity or where the property will be let
- is compliant with the Consumer Rights Act 2015
- is suitable for commissions procured on the basis of a traditional form of building contract where tendering occurs at the end of Stage 4 (Technical Design)
- focuses on the Architect/Consultant purely providing the Architectural services, but includes the provision to undertake the services of a Principal Designer, under the CDM Regulations 2015
Easy to understand
The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract is written in plain English, which provides three key benefits:
- the language used in the contract is succinct and easy to understand, compared to other standard forms of contracts
- the terms of the contract are fair and equitable for both client and Architect/Consultant
- the clause structure used in the contract avoids the use of large numbers of sub-sub clauses and large amounts of cross-referencing between provisions
Key changes in the new 2018 edition of the RIBA suite of Professional Services Contracts
- Novation – the RIBA Standard Professional Services Contract includes a novation clause and the option for the architect/consultant to ‘walk away’ from the project, if a Design & Build procurement route is subsequently chosen
- CDM Regulations 2015 – the Contracts have been fully updated to comply with the CDM Regulations 2015 and greater guidance is given on the Regulations with more clarity around the role of Principal Designer
- Fees and charges – the ‘Fees’ section has been simplified by removing the boxes that aligned fees to stages of the Plan of Work. This is now a ‘free-hand’ text box so that users can simply set out their fees as they wish/require
- Fee payments – the payment frequency options have been expanded as well as having the additional option of using a draw-down schedule. The payment provision in the RIBA Standard and Concise Professional Services Contracts already comply with the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and, although the Act does not apply to residential/domestic projects, similar efficient provisions have now been included in the RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract for ease of use
- Insurance – the Contract Details have been revised so that they clearly set out the main insurance policies that should be in place
- Dispute resolution – the guidance on dispute resolution has been expanded but also simplified
- Net contribution – this has been re-introduced into the RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract due to developments in case law, namely the case of West & West v Ian Finlay & Associates, in which the Technology and Construction Court confirmed in its judgment that a net contribution clause does not offend the Consumer Protection Regulations as being ‘unfair’
- Schedule of Services – these have been redrafted to suit the specific form of contract and align with the stages set out in the RIBA Plan of Work 2013. However, it is envisaged that Stages 0 and 7 would require separate forms of appointment as these stages would either pre-date the signing of the Contract, or may inadvertently extend liability beyond the normal terms of the Contract.
Copies required for each Party
It is legally advisable that both parties to the contract each have an original signed version. Therefore, you should purchase two copies of the contract, so that both the client and the architect/consultant has an original signed copy. Alternatively, prepare your contract online enabling you to issue final copies of the contract to each party at no extra cost.
Integration with other RIBA documents
The RIBA Domestic Professional Services Contract have been specifically written to integrate with the RIBA Building Contracts and the RIBA Plan of Work 2013.
Create your RIBA Professional Services Contract online – it is quick, simple and straightforward
Generating your professional services contract online allows you to create, alter, manage and view all of your contracts in one secure location before printing the final contract. For further details, go to: contracts.architecture.com.
Digital (RIBA Chartered Member): £17.50 ex. VAT
Digital (non-member): £35.00 ex. VAT
Paper: £25.00 ex. VAT
For more comprehensive guidance to RIBA's updated building contracts, the Guide to RIBA Professional Services Contracts 2018 is available from RIBA Bookshops.