Institute of Architects tells lawyers to stop including them in dispute-resolution clauses

by Sol Dolor17 Jul 2019

The nation’s professional organisation for architects should not be included by lawyers in dispute-resolution clauses, according to the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA).

The organisation has asked the Law Society of New Zealand to notify legal professionals that the practice of including clauses in contracts that require the organisation to appoint an architect as an expert, or that the NZIA president to appoint an independent expert, is not acceptable and ineffective.

NZIA said that it has been contacted twice in June about clauses in a sale-and-purchase agreement and a lease agreement that made those requirements of the body. The organisation said that drafting those clauses into the contracts was not done with its knowledge or consent. It told the Law Society that the practice places the NZIA in an untenable position.

“It notes that the NZIA, its President, and its architect members generally, are not authorised nor have the expertise (and insurance) to provide these services,” the Law Society wrote. “The NZIA believes that any such clauses must fail for impossibility. The NZIA, its President, or its architect members cannot be obligated to provide services outside their remit or expertise.”

The NZIA also said that its own forms for consultancy agreements and construction contracts do not have similar clauses.