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Does Your Project Need A Professional?
Select a topic below to read the AAA coordinated response to questions raised regarding the roles and responsibilities of design professionals during and following the webinar.
Working Relationships: Design Professionals & Authorities Having Jurisdiction
What is the typical reaction by an architect or engineer when an SCO claims there is a code infraction in a project? I feel that some professionals and AHJs feel they shouldn't be questioned based on their accreditations.
This is an excellent question that speaks of the fundamental roles and relationships of two important unique entities identified in the
Safety Codes Act
. Both the designer and the Safety Codes Officer have distinct set of responsibilities.
The first thing to consider is whether professional involvement is required on the building project in question. Design professionals need be reminded that Safety Codes Officer have a role to advise on the design requirements for many building projects throughout the Province where professional involvement is not included or required on the project. When a design professional is involved, their role is to prepare a design that complies with all applicable regulations and codes while it is reasonable and expected for an Authorities Having Jurisdiction to request information to their satisfaction that demonstrates the design is compliant.
It is not reasonable for a design professional to expect for a Safety Codes officer accept their design unconditionally. It is also unreasonable for a Safety Codes Officer to dictate the design methods that should be used by the designer. Due to their experience and specialized knowledge, the AAA recognizes Safety Codes Officers as being an extremely important advisory resource that can assist design professionals and contribute towards successful building projects in the public interest. The AAA reminds its members they are ultimately accountable for the professional design services they provide. The professional and ethical obligations of AAA members are not absolved by the advice provided by authorities having Jurisdiction.
The AAA works to remind its members about the above noted roles and responsibilities and encourages them to work respectfully with all authorities having jurisdiction to resolve any code-related issues or concerns that may be raised. It is not reasonable for project circumstances or pressures to be used as an excuse to disregard or disrespect the important roles of either the authorities having jurisdiction or design professionals. Mutually respectful working relationships must be maintained at all times. We all share a fundamental objective to maintain the public interests.
Design Professionals Role During Construction and As-Built Drawing Records
Please advise on the responsibility for design professionals to submit design changes and as-built documents to authorities having jurisdiction and to assure the construction is compliant with at the end of the building project.
Section 2.2 of the National Building Code - Alberta Edition includes a variety of project administrative requirements that apply to building project owners, registered design professionals and constructors. This section describes the minimum drawings and information submission requirements in support of a building permit application and obligates owners and designers to submit any proposed changes during construction to the authorities having jurisdiction for review and approval prior to proceeding with the proposed design revisions. It also requires that authorities having jurisdiction be notified about design professional involvement changes at any stage of the project. The AAA expects its member architects and licensed interior designers to work cooperatively with authorities having jurisdiction to provide clear and sufficient information to support their review and monitoring of the proposed design and construction.
Architecture and licensed interior design professionals are responsible for submitting documents that show all design changes made during construction process along with their Schedules of Professional Involvement at the end of construction and in support of the building occupancy permitting process. Design professionals are not required to submit as-built documents as the ability to prepare and certify such documents are frequently beyond their direct control. When a design professional submits a C Schedule, it means they are providing assurance that the original design and any subsequent design changes have been prepared in compliance with the
Safety Codes Act
/National Building Code - Alberta Edition (NBC-AE). It also means they have conducted field reviews to monitor the construction work for conformance with that design. It does not mean they are assuring all work performed by the constructor is compliant nor does it mean that the design professional is obligated to document all changes made by construction contractors as long as all changes are consistent with the design documents and design intentions.
In addition to the notification requirements in NBC-AE for changes in the involvement of architecture or licensed interior design professionals on a building projects, please refer to the AAA
Practice Bulleting 06 - Succession
. Due to the requirement for authorized entities registered through the AAA to assume full responsibility for their design work "as if it were their own" through all stages of the design and construction process and to "…personal supervision, direction and control…" of a single authorized entity, it is expected that all A, B and C Schedules to be issued by the new architecture or licensed interior design professional.
Changes to Drawing Records
Are building owners permitted to revise the drawing records without permission by the design professionals after a permit has been issued?
The preparation of design documents and any changes to such documents are the sole and exclusive responsibility of the design professionals. Any changes that may be made to drawing records, especially after they have been submitted for permitting purposes, without the knowledge and permission of the design professional is not only strictly prohibited but could be characterized and prosecuted as a criminal/fraudulent act as it represents a substantial safety threat that jeopardizes the interests of the public.
The situation as represented by this question represents a serious breakdown in the understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the entities identified in the
Safety Codes Act
that may be the result of various factors. Some of the factors might include poor working relationships between the owner, design professionals and authority having jurisdiction and/or a failing of the design professional to fully explain and enter into written agreements that explain the responsibilities of the owner and the design professional.
Architect as Constructor
In the years 2004 and 2009 I designed and constructed houses for our family under my personal supervision. First house we sold after two years of occupancy. The second we are living in now. We intend to sell it for family and economy reasons. I am designing and thinking to construct a third, very small house for our retirement time. On both two houses I took liberty to take responsibility of construction. Houses are ICF and concrete constructed.
My simply question is: "Am I allowed to be responsible and organizing construction under my supervision and hiring my own subcontractors?" without involvement of construction company?
The AAA only regulates the professional services provided by architects and licensed interior designers on building projects in Alberta where professional involvement is required. It does not regulate building construction services. Any construction services that may be provided by someone also involved in the practice of architecture or the practice of licensed interior design must be fully disclosed to clients, potential clients and the public and must clearly distinguished from the professional design services provided. This requirement extends to the formulation of a separate legal entity for construction services provided on a commercial basis.
All builders in Alberta are required to obtain a license. Information about how to apply is located on the
Government of Alberta
New Home Buyer Protection Act
includes provisions relating to the warranty and sale options available to an owner-builder.
Licensed Interior Designer Scope of Practice
What work does a licensed interior designer cover? What are their limits?
Licensed interior designers as exclusively registered through the
by the AAA are authorized to provide the same services as a registered architect with the exception of the design of environmental separations and exits both as defined by the
Safety Codes Act
/National Building Code - Alberta Edition.
Practice Bulletin 26 - Professional Involvement on Building Projects
is an excellent resource that provides a graphical guideline and examples to help demonstrate the authority and limitations relating to the scope of professional design services that may be provided by a Licensed Interior Designer.
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