Dear Architect….

Appropriate arrangements for sole traders

As unpleasant a notion as it might be, it is important that architects give some thought to what would happen to their projects in the event they are unexpectedly unable to work.

Standard 2.2 of the Architects Code of Conduct provides that architects are expected to make appropriate arrangements for their professional work in event of incapacity, death, absence from, or inability to, work.

In practice this is of particular relevance for small practices and sole traders; large firms will likely have sufficient internal resources to cover absences.

Ideally architects will use their local connections to make formal or informal agreements with other small practices to assist with projects in times of need, however that is not always possible. If such an agreement is planned, advice should be sought from professional indemnity insurer providers.

Architects should nevertheless be giving consideration as to how their work is arranged, so that it can be continued by someone else should they be absent unexpectedly.

This would mean having the ability for a third party – whether it be an employee/partner/family member being able to access records, files, policies etc. and distribute them as appropriate if the principal is not there. Passwords should be available as appropriate and office documentation should be in place explaining where things are. At the very minimum, if an architect cannot carry on his or her work, they should leave it in a state where a client can pick it up and take it to someone else.