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Maybe a small question for any response

  • 1.  Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-17-2018 18:38
    The client and I prepared a punch list. We believed the items on the list to be corrected, etc. is reasonable for meeting quality expectations.

    The contractor has taken exception stating that the punch list had unrealistic expectations. Not surprising.

    What took me by surprise was that the contractor had another architect go to the site without my or the clients knowledge and has agreed with the contractor.

    Has the architect done something either illegal or unethical?

    Thoughts would be helpful.

    Sent from my iPhone
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  • 2.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 17:27
    Illegal? Probably not. Unethical? Could be. I would never have done that. The bigger question is: are you obligated to pay any attention whatsoever to the opinion of the other architect? I would say, no. Neither does your client. The contract for construction is between the client and the contractor, and it's up to your client to enforce it. I would take the stance that the other architect's opinion is irrelevant.

    John Downie AIA
    John V. Downie | Architect
    Auburndale MA

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  • 3.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-19-2018 17:41
    I don't see anything illegal or unethical about a contractor hiring an architect to assist in developing a punch-list. I also don't see that architect's opinion as having any more weight than the contractor who employs him.

    To put it in perspective, would you object if a lender hired an architect to do their own punch-list, certify payments, issue a certificate of completion prior to cutting a check to a contractor? Of course, a lender's opinion has more weight than an architect working for the contractor because they are the ones disbursing the funds, not requesting them.

    In any event, I'd make sure my paperwork is all in order and the close-out process is well documented.

    David Del Vecchio AIA
    David Del Vecchio, Architect, LLC
    Cranford NJ

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  • 4.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 17:27
    What a strange thing for an architect to do.

    I don't imagine it's illegal, or even unethical. However, I also don't see how it has any bearing on your work, or your relationship with your client. In this case, that architect's 'client' (if there is one) is the contractor, so of course he's representing those interests. His opinion is immaterial to your project.

    Good luck!


    Michael Mitchell AIA
    Backforty Architecture
    Brooklyn NY

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  • 5.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 17:37
    ​Usually the Contractor  should prepare a punch list  of  incomplete Items, The Architect then confirms or adds to the list.
    This procedure is typically  laid out in AIA 201  General Conditions for the Contract for Construction.

    The Contractor can hire his mother to do the punchlist  if he wants.    I am not sure illegal or unethical, You need to check with your State Board.

    The only difference is it does not matter  what the architect  says  because he has No Standing Contractually in the contract.   Time to get the Contracts out and check.
    Also it is the Architect for the owner that is responsible for interpreting the documents which is You!

    It also comes down to who has the money and who want to get paid. That's what really talks here.

    Best of Luck


    David DeFilippo AIA
    Tsoi/Kobus & Associates, Inc.
    Boston MA

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  • 6.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 17:41
    As mentioned the other architects opinion is immaterial.  Typical AIA contracts have the architect of record as the arbiter of acceptable work. I always issue the punch list as work required to be completed or corrected prior to final payment.  Hopefully your client held back enough retainage to for this very reason, to use as leverage to have the work completed per the contract.  I would language to that affect in telling the contractor this work needs to be addressed before he gets paid.  Good luck!

    Paul Levine AIA
    Paul J. Levine, Architect
    Pittsburgh PA

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  • 7.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 17:47
    I would think the contractor can obtain advice from any source, including architects.  However  the agreement is with the owner who has you as their architect to rely on for compliance with the contract.  No one else is involved.

    J. Perrin AIA
    J. Robert Perrin Architect
    Omaha NE

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  • 8.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 17:57

    Who's paying that architect? If it's not the Owner, he/she can be ignored since the Contractor is working for the Owner and the Owner agreed to your punch list. And were the items on the punch list defined in the drawings and specs? If the documents were unrealistic, the Contractor has had plenty of time to say so during construction.


    And yes, it looks unethical to me. Potentially illegal if he didn't have a written contract before doing his work – at least in the states where I've practiced – CA, OR, WA.




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  • 9.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 18:01

    Certainly not nice. Unethical? depending on the information provided to the other architect.


    Do the items on the punch list not conform to specifications/drawings? Did the other architect see the contract documents prior to commenting (did the contractor hoodwink an opinion by implying standards not provided). Did the contractor tell the other architect that an architect was involved.


    Most important, what is the business, or other relationship between the contractor and the other Architect?


    And finally; without permission the other architect is trespassing, assuming the punch list was associated with substantial completion, and the contractor did not tell the architect that he did not have the authority to invite him into the property (architect misinformed rather than ignorant).



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  • 10.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 19:32
    The other architect is the Contractor’s sub. I suspect he doesn’t have a place in the contract between the Owner and the Contractor. He gave an opinion.

    If on the other hand he says in some report or memo that you don’t know what you are doing, he could be running afoul of the Code of ethics. Our state has some language that says one architect shall not diminish the reputation of another architect….but if you go that route with a complaint to the licensing board, you’d better have his statements in writing, not just what the Contractor told you.

    It would be uncomfortable, but dangerous fun to call the other architect and ask what he’s said and eventually ask what role he thinks he has on your job? They never ask questions like this in the ethics classes.

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  • 11.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 20:41
    Sure sounds like a contractor who's not interested in receiving a referral from the client or from you in the future.  Needless to say, not a contractor I'd work with on future projects.  I'd also find out if the "consulting" Architect is really a licensed professional.  If so, what is their name because that might be something to file in your memory bank.  Since the current contractor is unwilling to complete the Work, I'd recommend having a different contractor generate an estimate of what it would cost to complete and deduct that amount from the final payment, if any, to complete the project.

    Gregory Holah, NCARB
    HOLAH Design + Architecture
    Portland, Oregon 97232

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  • 12.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 20:56
    For 20 years I have been an expert legal witness. One principle is never shit in your own nest; so, I have never acted vs. any architect in my home area. In another state, yes, Your opponent is unethical.

    William McCullam AIA
    Newbury OH

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  • 13.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 21:06
    I do not think it was either unethical or illegal; but certainly misguided and unpersuasive for the contractor to obtain another architects opinion.
    If the issue is artistic intent, then the contract probably states that your are the sole determiner.
    If the issue is performance to spec such as level of drywall finish, then there is sometimes room for disagreement.
    Since most punchlist items are finish, and most finish is by subcontractors who do not get paid until the contactor gets paid, he usually just needs your authority to back him up in the performance.
    What else is going on here?  payment problems?  sub relationships?  Hot construction market?

    Rex Peterson
    Scottsbluff NE

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  • 14.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 22:04
    First question would be is the contract used on the project an AIA Contract Document, and if so, which one.

    As was mentioned by another, hopefully retainage is in place, regardless of whether it's an AIA document or a homebrew contract.

    Like others, I know I wouldn't place myself into that sort of situation between a contractor, other architect, and owner -- especially if the owner were unaware I was even on the project premises. I wish you nothing but good luck on a positive outcome to this situation!

    Kevin M. Shertz, AIA
    Chestertown, Maryland

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  • 15.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-18-2018 22:31

    Your's is an unusual case.

    I suppose if I was in your shoes, I would require the Contractor have the other Architect put his opinion in writing with thorough explanation that references specific areas of the contract documents.  Until that is done, its just heresay with no substantiation, and you don't want to waste time responding to such a light effort on their part.   That's my two cents, good luck.....Adam

    Adam Trott AIA
    Adam J. Trott Architect
    Erie PA

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  • 16.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-19-2018 05:24
    Edited by Kelly Kleppin 09-19-2018 05:24

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  • 17.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-19-2018 11:24
    I hesitate to respond as it could be construed as legal advice - which is not what I intend.

    Unfortunately, the AIA's Code of Ethics is soft on supplanting and this kind of activity, which is not prohibited or expressly addressed.

    I do believe, however, that you have grounds for a complaint because AIA Ethics Article 3.202 states "When acting by agreement of the parties as the independent interpreter of building contract documents and the judge of contract performance, Members shall render decisions impartially."

    Your narrative implies that the Contractor engaged an architect to act as such an independent interpreter of the contract documents and the judge of contractor performance, but neither the Contractor nor architect obtained your permission to do so, so the act of rendering such an opinion was not in accordance "by agreement of the parties," as it should have been.

    William Eberhard AIA
    Managing Partner
    Eberhard Architects LLC
    Cleveland OH

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  • 18.  RE: Maybe a small question for any response

    Posted 09-19-2018 13:06

    Contractor bringing in another architect is irrelevant.  He has an agreement with owner to perform and you as architect are responsible for punch list.  Do pay till work is completed.

    Sean J Bujold, AIA
    Sean Bujold & Associates, Inc.

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