The Client-Architect Agreement

In South Africa, the law requires Architects to to enter into a written agreement with their clients. This agreement constitutes the provision of architectural services before the design process begins. The South African Institute of Architecture (SAIA) is the organisation that established this agreement, and it’s terms.

What the agreement entails

Naturally, an agreement needs to be reached between a client and their architect before any project can commence. It simply establishes that the architect will perform his services with professional skill, care, and diligence for a fee (which is stated in the document).

According to SAIA, the agreement “sets out the architect’s services and the related conditions of an agreement between the client and the architect. It is intended for use on all project’s with agreed services.”

SAIA’s Client-Architect Agreement establishes and defines all the possible services and architect can perform – such as the role of an architect, principal agent, or consultant. Both the architect and the client must decide which architectural services are necessary, as well as the fee that must be paid once these services have been rendered.

Architectural Process - ContractAgreement conditions

An important condition of the agreement is that the architect must act as an agent for their client. To do so, architects must conform to the standard procedures and forms of contract required in the building industry. The document also includes other information such as the conditions of service, definitions and interpretations, articles of agreement, and the respective appendices.


It is important for clients to be familiar with the contract, as it provides highly useful information regarding the different architectural work stages. Having a good understanding of the Client-Architect Agreement can only serve to benefit the process of realising your dream home.

It is available online from various sources. It may updated from time to time, but these updates are mostly subtle. If you are only able to access an older version of the document, it is still valuable and worth brushing up on.


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