California Architects

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2020 Edition, Issue 1


A Publication of the California Architects Board ■ Public Protection Through Examination, Licensure, and Regulation

New Written Contract Requirements for Architectural Services

Pursuant to Business and Professions Code (BPC) section 5536.22, subdivision (a), all architects must use a written contract when contracting to provide professional services to a client. That written contract must be executed by both the architect and the client, or the client’s representative, prior to the architect commencing work.

Beginning on January 1, 2020, the written contract must include all of the following items (new requirements in bold):

  1. A description of the project for which the client is seeking services.
  2. A description of the services to be provided by the architect to the client.
  3. A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract and the method of payment agreed upon by both parties.
  4. The name, address, and license number of the architect, the name and address of the client, and the project address.
  5. A description of the procedure that the architect and the client will use to accommodate additional services and contract changes, including, but not limited to, changes in the description of the project, in the description of the services, or in the description of the compensation and method of payment.
  6. A description of the procedure to be used by either party to terminate the contract.
  7. A statement identifying the ownership and use of instruments of service prepared by the architect.
  8. A statement in at least 12-point type that reads: "Architects are licensed and regulated by the California Architects Board located at 2420 Del Paso Road, Suite 105, Sacramento, CA 95834."

As outlined in BPC section 5536.22, subdivision (b), the written contract requirement does not apply to any of the following:

  1. Professional services rendered by an architect for which the client will not pay compensation.
  2. An arrangement as to the basis for compensation and manner of providing professional services implied by the fact that the architect’s services are of the same general kind which the architect has previously rendered to and received payment from the same client.
  3. If the client knowingly states in writing after full disclosure of this section that a writing which complies with the requirements of this section is not required.
  4. Professional services rendered by an architect to a professional engineer registered to practice engineering under Chapter 7 (commencing with [BPC] Section 6700), or to a land surveyor licensed under Chapter 15 (commencing with [BPC] Section 8700).
  5. Professional services rendered by an architect to a public agency when using that public agency’s written contract.