Who is liable for the cost between Owner/Contractor and Architect when checking work?

This question stems from a practice exam question. The scenario is that the architect submitted a request to review all piping before the walls were finished (before construction). The contractor did not notify the architect before finishing the walls. The architect suspects the pipes were installed incorrectly and requested that the work be uncovered. The work was completed correctly.

Who bears the cost?

I thought if the architect requests work to be checked and the results were the contractor initially did the work correctly that the architect would be responsible for the cost. However, if the architect was correct that the contractor had done the work incorrectly that the contractor rather, would bear the cost.

Is this correct? If so, why is the answer to the question explained that the contractor is responsible? The explanation is that the Owner or the Contractor bears the costs of uncovering and redoing work! Is this always the case or situational? When is the architect responsible?

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Thanks for the thoughtful question! @coachdarionziegler or @heatherrivera, would either of you be able to answer Jared’s question?

Hi Jared,

Good question!

I believe in this situation the contractor is responsible because the architect requested to review all piping before the walls were finished, but the contractor did not honor this request. If the work was either correct or incorrect it was the contractor’s financial responsibility because the initial request for the architect to review the work was not honored.

The architect has the ability to request any work be uncovered. In the event the architect did not specify this before construction, if the work was uncovered and discovered to have been installed incorrectly the contractor would be financially responsible. If the work was discovered to have been installed correctly, the owner would be financially responsible.

That being said, the owner might not be very happy with the architect in this instance, but hopefully they trust the architect’s opinion that it was worth checking to insure proper construction.

Read through AIA201 section 12.1.1 for more information!

Hope this helps!

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I’m glad that you’ve asked this and that Darion referenced the A201.

Is the conclusion of it, that with the compliant drawings the architect is never financially responsible for mistakes in the actual building process, regardless if the additional costs incur at the architect’s request?

Would another way to think about it be that the sole two players in this stage are the contractor and the owner, while the architect is only reporting/analyzing compliance with the CDs, so he/she has no financial contribution whatsoever?

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@Oana if the contractor covered work that was requested to be inspected, uncovering that work is on him and is not supposed to slow the progress of the project.

That said, if the architect asks for the work to be uncovered after the fact AND the work is, indeed, correct, a number of things can play out. If you check out A201 12.1.12 it says, “…If such work is in accordance with the Contract Documents, the Contractor shall be entitled to an equitable adjustment to the Contract Sum and Contract Time as may be appropriate.” In many cases, that sum is covered by all parties, one party, or whatever the team decides.

Great discussion!