Standard 6: Carrying out your work faithfully and conscientiously
Standard 6 engages with other aspects of the Code such as Standard 2 (Competence) and Standard 4 (Competent management of your business) to ensure architects have the knowledge and skills to carry out their work to a high standard and in accordance with the contract agreed with their clients (6.1).
Standard 6.2 requires work to be carried out without undue delay as far as it is reasonable. As with anything else in life, we know that unexpected difficulties may be found along the way that cause delays and/or affect the cost of a project. In these circumstances, you should communicate with your clients effectively and keep them informed of the progress of the works.
This Standard also outlines the importance of remaining impartial when acting between parties or providing advice. This is particularly important if you are acting as contract administrator or project manager. You will need to balance ensuring that the work carried out by contractors and other parties are up to standard with managing the client’s expectations.
Unfortunately, many of the complaints we receive are related to Standard 6. Common concerns involve errors in the work carried out, delays and increases in costs, and clients not being kept informed. We understand that mistakes can occur despite best efforts and not all concerns will result in regulatory action. It is important to note that we do not get involved in disputes about a contract or fee levels, or decide whether an architect may have been negligent. These are legal issues and must be dealt with through the courts.
So, what factors do we consider when we receive a complaint to determine its seriousness and the appropriate course of action? We consider aspects such as the degree of the harm caused, whether the architect attempted to correct the issue, and the quality communication between the parties. If a case reaches a Professional Conduct Committee hearing, the Committee would also consider whether it was a one-off mistake or a matter which suggests a larger trend in the architect’s practise. Keeping these considerations in mind might help you better manage or avoid an issue of your own.
Sometimes the issue arises from a misunderstanding between parties. For example a contractor might inform you they will not be able to finish their work as per schedule. If you agree to push the deadline but forget to update your client, they will be unaware of the reasons for the delay and could become frustrated. Good communication between the parties really underpins the essence of Standard 6. Implementing good communication is proactive and ethical, can prevent misunderstandings and help reduce the risk of a complaint being raised against you.
We hope you found this advice useful. We are here to support you through regulation, and the Professional Standards team is on hand to provide further advice and guidance on professional obligations under the Code. Contact us if you have any concerns or queries and we will be happy to help.