Conditions of Engagement in WA - An Update on Negotiations

Richard Young , 11 September 2013

Richard Young reports on progress in addressing concerns about the Architectural Services Panel Conditions of Engagement.

 The ACA – WA, via its membership of the Built Environment Design Professions (BEDP), has been meeting regularly with Department of Building Management and Works (BMW) to discuss the profession’s concerns with some aspects of the Architectural Services Panel 2012 Conditions of Engagement.

Progress has been made in two important areas of concern: the exclusion of Part 1F of the Civil Liability Act 2002 and limiting liability. The BEDP recently received a letter from the Minister for Finance, Mike Nahan MLA, stating that lead consultants will no longer be responsible for consultants that they did not engage.

Minister Nahan writes:

“I am pleased to inform you that the Department (of Finance – Building Management and Works) has reviewed its practice of applying a ‘joint and several’ liability regime with the exclusion of Part 1 F of the Civil Liability Act 2002. The Department proposes taking a more balanced view on the application of part 1F. Lead consultants engaged on the overwhelming majority of projects managed by the Department will only be held responsible for their acts and omissions and those of the sub consultant teams that they engage to plan and deliver the project. Lead consultants will no longer be responsible for other consultants or the contractors engaged directly by the Department.”

This is a great improvement on the previous untenable situation. However, the issue of direct engagement of the consultants by BMW, rather than as sub consultants, still remains a very important issue that we are pursuing vigorously.

We are also making good progress with limiting liability and our working party recently attended a workshop with BMW to investigate ways of determining realistic limits based on project value, complexity and risk. This is proving to be a very complicated process; however, we remain optimistic that a good result will come out of it.

ACA – WA will update on further progress as it occurs.

This item was first published in ACA Communique, September 2013.