Architects, if your agreement with the Owner includes construction phase services, you are contractually obligated to administer the contract for construction according to the procedures defined in the agreements, the conditions of the contract for construction, and the specifications!
A commonly used Owner-Architect Agreement, AIA Document B201-2007, Standard Form of Architect’s Services: Design and Construction Contract Administration, states,
“The Architect shall provide administration of the Contract between the Owner and the Contractor as set forth below and in AIA Document A201-2007, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction.” – from Article 2 of AIA Document B201-2007
So that leads us to look at AIA Document A201-2007, which states,
“The Architect will provide administration of the Contract as described in the Contract Documents…” – from Article 4 of AIA Document A201-2007
“The Contract Documents…consist of the Agreement, Conditions of the Contract (General, Supplementary and other Conditions), Drawings, Specifications…” – from Article 1 of AIA Document A201-2007
So, you know all those sections in Division 01 that say things like “Architect will review each submittal…” “Architect will review each RFI…” “Architect will request additional information or documentation for evaluation within one week…” Those are things that you are contractually obligated to do, because they’re part of your contract with the Owner.
If things get really bad on a project, and you end up in litigation, the lawyers will ask YOU, the Architect, “Did you request this? Did you review this?” etc. If you didn’t do the things that the specifications indicated that you would do, you could be in trouble. The attorneys working to protect the interests of the General Contractor will do everything they can to shift blame away from the General Contractor. That’s their job. Don’t make it any easier for them than it needs to be!
Know, understand, and follow through on your obligations for procedural and administrative processes during construction contract administration. Start by reading the agreements, the conditions of the contract, and the specifications!