Much of the work in building and civil engineering activities is carried out in a contract system in which the employer, also variously called client or owner, resolves to carry out certain works, engages a consultant to design and supervise those works, and then employs a contractor to execute the works, in consideration of payments to be made at various stages during the works progress.
The execution and completion of the works requires the services and skill of a wide range of professional advisers, contractors, specialist contractors and suppliers, each owing different duties the one to the other. It follows therefore that care and attention needs to be exercised and appropriate legal advice be obtained throughout depending upon the nature and extent of the works. The type of contemplated contract will also have a bearing on the rights and duties of the owner and the contractor and their relationship with the architect (consultant) and the extent of the authority and legal responsibility of the latter.
Each type of contract such as fixed price contracts, lump sum contracts, bills of quantities contracts, cost plus percentage contracts , cost plus fixed fee contracts, subcontracts, is suited to specific works and in particular circumstances . It is important therefore to incorporate specific clauses in each type of contract in order to give a proper effect to the intention of the parties and to provide the maximum protection.
Architects and supervising engineers who often come under much blame by both the owner and the contractor need to follow ‘ Good Practice ‘ in placing building contracts and during the tendering, selection procedure and execution, particularly more so in large projects. Just like the contractor, their duty extends beyond the completion date of the works as prescribed in Royal Decree No: 120/94 promulgating the law for the organization of the business of engineering consultancy offices.