Does the Architect have power to Issue Instructions after Practical Completion?

Does the Architect have power to Issue Instructions after Practical Completion?

There appears to be no reason why the Architect should not be empowered to issue instructions after practical completion subject to certain exceptions. The PAM 2006 form of building contract permits the Architect to issue instructions in regard to any matter about which the contract expressly authorises instructions. There are many clauses and sub-clauses under the PAM 2006 form of building contract which authorise the Architect to issue instructions. Once these clauses have been identified, the question is whether the Architect’s power to issue them expires at Practical Completion.

None of the clauses specifically state this point, but it is obvious that instructions under some clauses cannot be issued once the Works have been completed. It is clear that instructions requiring variations to the Works cannot be issued after Practical Completion, because Practical Completion is when the Works are complete save for minor things still to be done or defects. The issue of an instruction requiring substantial changes would be inconsistent with that. It is also relevant that Practical Completion is defined as the beginning of the six month period during which the Contractor is to provide information for the preparation of the final account or adjusted Contract Sum. If there was no stop to variations, the Contractor would not know when the final account documentation could be completed (Sub-Clause 30.10).

On the same basis, the Architect will have no power to suspend work after Practical Completion, no power to issue instructions about setting out, drawings or discrepancies. However, there seems no reason why the Architect should not be able to issue instructions with respect to defects, outstanding works, making good and works requiring opening up or testing.

MALCONLAW 2012

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