AIA Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community supports, celebrates, and promotes small projects by engaging designers and the public.
It all starts with setting expectations, assuring your client understand your role in the project vs. that of the Contractor and the client's role as the Owner. Also, having a good AIA form Agreement covers those roles in a manner that is most common in the construction industry, whether it is for commercial or a small residential project. This is particularly true with clients who don't regularly engage in construction and don't understand that the Architect cannot be responsible for the actions of the contractor and certainly cannot be responsible for unforeseen site conditions which are the Owner's responsibility as they "own" the ground.
Its hard to suggest with the limited information if you should "stay or go". If you "go" however you lose all opportunity to fix what might be wrong and protect yourself from liability.
Good luck and be well!
Mark I. Baum, Architect, AIA
You did the right thing by staying involved and not going. That was the architecturally moral and ethical course of action. Good decision in spite of the difficulties it may have brought you. Francois de Menil
I've had to deal with similar situations. While I was sympathetic to the client's budget constraints, I made it clear that the design and all remedial work would have to be code compliant. As I told one client (paraphrasing the old Hebrew National slogan) "I have to answer to a higher order- the State of Connecticut."
You have a responsibility to serve your client but not at the expense of life safety. You did the right thing.
Have you tried sitting down over a cup of coffee to smooth things over? Sometimes a little grace can go a long way.
Maybe acknowledge the disagreement, acknowledge your professional liability to do the right thing for her and her project, and let her know you value her as a client and her project and wish to have a good working relationship. Then listen as she talks without interrupting. You might learn some valuable information either way, stay or go.