Architect & Engineer Contract Law
Understanding the Requirement of a Written Contract in California
Under California law, both architects and engineers are required to use a written contract when contracting to provide professional services to a client. The law pertaining to architects is located in California Business and Professions Code Section 5536.22. The law pertaining to engineers is located at California Business and Professions Code Section 6749. That written contract must be executed by the architect or engineer and the client, or his or her representative, prior to the architect or engineer commencing work, unless the client knowingly states in writing that work may be commenced before the contract is executed.
The written contract is required to include at least all of the following items:
(1) A description of services to be provided by the architect or engineer to the client.
(2) A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract and method of payment agreed upon by both parties.
(3) The name, address, and license number of the architect or engineer and the name and address of the client.
(4) A description of the procedure that the architect or engineer and the client will use to accommodate additional services.
(5) A description of the procedure to be used by either party to terminate the contract.
(b) This section shall 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 or engineer's services are of the same general kind which the architect or engineer 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 or an engineer to another engineer.