Unit Overview
P1 - Factors that influence the Design Process
P2 - Communication
P2 - Design Team
P3 - Production Team
P4 - Legal Implications
P5 - Written Communication
P6 - Construction Methods
P7 - Specifications
P8 - Drawings
M2 - Communicating Design Changes
M3 - Terminology
D1 - Evaluate RIBA
D2 - Appraise Instructions

Legal Implications

Just about building project will involve a range of people in the decision making process, for example their will always be a client and normally an architect and principle contractor, often there will be many other companies involved in the design and delivery of the project as well.

Construction projects soon run into problems when they information is misunderstood or the people are not clear on what part of the project they are responsible for. For example when a client starts working with an architect, there should be a clear understanding of what the client requires and what will be paid for that. For example if the client only wants a concept idea that must make sure the architect understands not to start producing full working drawings. The architect should issue the client with at least a letter outlining what they understand the scope of works to be.


Failure to agree on who is going to what can end up in costly and timely court battles, which rarely benefit any of the parties involved.


As the design progress from a concept to a full blown working set of drawings more and more specialist will be pulled into to the design of the project, on a commercial project such as a shopping centre things such as lifts and escalators will need to included along with climate control and fire systems. As these systems are incorporated into the design of the building they will impact on the layout of the building and require the layout to be changed, some of these changes may be inconsequential, whilst others may impact on the look of the building and need the approval of the client.


The civil engineer may need to change sizes and material which will affect the size and cost of materials.

Often the planning authority will not approve the first design that is put forward and will request changes be made.

With all the changes that can take place to the design it is essential that information is communicated effectively across the design team, this can be done by several methods.



This is probably the best way of communicating and resolving problems, issues can discussed by all the relevant members of the design team and solutions agreed upon or a plan of action put in place. It is essential that someone minutes the meeting so there is no confusion over what is agreed within the meeting.



Email allows drawings to be shared instantly and most portable devices can open CAD drawings remotely so people don't need to be in an office to kept up to date. Emails can be shared with multiple people and if worded correctly can form part of the instruction process to communicate changes between the design team.



This is becoming less common due the time and cost, however local councils still tend to use this as a method of communication, registered and recorded post has the advantage of being signed for on delivery so can be used as evidence if required at a later date.

Once the site has entered the build phase further changes are still likely and the same process of communicating design changes should still be kept in place, with regular meetings and email contact.


Time delay

Confusion over the design will almost always lead to some form of delay, the financial implications of this will depend on the delay and what was agreed in the contract with regard to delivering the project on time. In the case of large and important projects there is often a clause outlining financial penalties if the project is not delivered on time.


Planning authority

In the case that the design doesn't meet the requirements of the LPA you may be faced with significant structural changes or a complete rebuild n extreme cases. Who will foot the cost for this will depend on who failed to communicate the change or pick up on the change if it was communicated properly.



Damages can be awarded if one party can successfully prove that they were not told about a change or that a change they communicated was not subsequently acted upon.

Liquidated damages
In this instance the damages would have been pre agreed at the project negotiation point, most commonly these refer to meeting deadlines.



This is the process of agreeing what is due to in the case where their has been a breach of contract.


Regardless of the financial implications a companies reputation and ability to win future projects will be affected if they fail to uphold their side of a contract.