The architect’s work: new demands and changes in emphasis

Architects play a number of roles throughout the building process: they are the designers, consultants and sometimes managers too. Commissioning authorities frequently rely on their architects to assist during the tendering phase by drawing up the functional specifications, advising on the tendering format and drafting contracts for the contractor.

Influenced by ever-increasing specialisation in the building chain, and the increasing societal role that architects are expected to fulfil, the emphasis among architectural firms is shifting. Architects are increasingly involved in joint ventures, for example with developers and/or contractors and as part of the construction process. They have to deal with numerous stakeholders (residents, participation bodies, politicians) and other advisers (constructors, construction cost consultants, mechanical and electrical engineering consultants, acoustics and building physics consultants).

In this context, architects are facing major societal challenges regarding the living environment and sustainability. The life cycle of the structure to be designed, circular design, reuse of building materials and energy-efficient designs are all placing new demands on the architect’s work. Digital innovation is also posing challenges, such as the BIM (Building Information Model).

Dutch consulting engineers are industry leaders

Consulting engineers are also facing a shift in emphasis in their work. They are called in to advise on and design products and services in a wide variety of sectors, from construction, infrastructure, industry, waste processing, drinking water and food supply to the energy and chemicals sectors. Other major challenges facing consulting engineers include meeting the climate goals, dealing with the effects of an ageing population, guiding the energy transition and ensuring water resources remain available.

Digitisation is playing an increasingly important role in all fields in which consulting engineers are active, such as geotechnical engineering, civil engineering, building physics, underground construction, vibration engineering, infrastructure, water treatment, and so on. Dutch consulting engineers are global industry leaders and take their knowledge to other countries.

Advice during the tendering process

We advise architects and consulting engineers during project tendering. We also provide support for compiling a long list or launching a competition, as well as when drafting the actual contracts. Furthermore, we provide legal assistance to commissioning authorities, architects and engineers for any discussions that may arise during the projects themselves. If necessary, we will initiate proceedings with arbitrators or before the courts.

These discussions may relate to the scope and interpretation of the work which is included in the assignment (according to the STB, the standard task description from the DNR), the suspension of work on the issue of design documents, specification drawings and/or working drawings, or to design errors, stagnation, delay and damage assessment, acting as an agent for the commissioning authority and assignment management, terminating the assignment, copyright issues, and much more. If necessary, we will also initiate proceedings, usually with the Arbitration Board for the Building Industry, but also with the NAI or an ordinary court.

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Architectural and consulting engineering specialists

We manage our client’s expectations and we respond quickly. We give realistic advice and produce workable agreements and contracts. We aim to prevent and resolve legal problems with a personal touch.

What our clients say about our lawyers

According to our clients, we understand how the construction industry works. Even the technical aspects. They feel supported and helped and consider us to be the specialist in civil construction law.

‘So far, we’ve won every case.’ ‘Their added value is worth every penny.’ ‘Rozemond is my first choice for cases I know will be tough.’

Peter van Gelder
Algemeen directeur Bouwers van Braam-Minnesma B.V.

‘They are all experts in their field. They love their profession and can talk about it with abandon and enthusiasm. They all do that!’

Katja Groenendaal
Head of Legal Affairs at Van Wijnen N.V.

‘He’s a good guy, he understands and responds quickly. He can resolve small issues expertly and win big cases. He understands how things work in construction and knows exactly how to put this in legal terms so it goes the right way and follows the strategy. Construction can be full of legal jargon, but Michiel knows how to explain it in layman’s terms.’

Gijs Hermelink
Contractmanager at Koopmans