Non-permitted project


I feel like I already know the answer to this but am curious about the facts and nuances. I am a registered architect and am just starting a project with a new client - a renovation of an old warehouse into office space. I get the feeling that the client might be wanting to do the project without a permit and I am not sure what the potential consequences would be for me as an architect if I completed construction docs and he went forward without a permit.

Feb 4, 21 12:50 pm
Non Sequitur

short answer: don't

long answer: don't

Feb 4, 21 12:56 pm  · 
3  ·  1

Alternative answer: You shouldn't be responsible for the client getting a permit (check your agreement). We just draw pictures. (also check the practice laws for your jurisdiction to see if there is anything saying you might have to report this to the AHJ)

Feb 4, 21 1:07 pm  · 
4  · 
Non Sequitur

^correct, as long as you're not involved in the construction phases of the project.

Feb 4, 21 1:24 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

EA, for what it's worth, it is not permitted under my association(s) to provide un-stamped construction drawings... and no architect would stamp drawings without submitting for permit, right?

Feb 4, 21 1:39 pm  · 

Don't call them construction drawings ... then no stamp required, right?

Disclaimer: This should not be taken as legal or professional advice as I am not giving it with that intention. In fact if you're thinking about doing anything like this you should probably consult with your lawyer. Of course, there's Jaffe's Second Law that says "if you need a lawyer, it's already too late" ... so maybe stick with the short answer.

Feb 4, 21 1:52 pm  · 
3  · 
Non Sequitur

Ah yes, the classic Jaffe's law. 

The wording in the Arch act here says provide with the distinctive knowledge that they might be used for construction... so can't use ignorance as a defense if you already suspect it. I guess a few concept drawings + elevations are ok but not a set a detail drawings & schedules. But that's for the lawyers to argue over. 

Is there not another part to Jaffe's law that says if you think you need a lawyer than it's already too late?

Feb 4, 21 1:59 pm  · 

I think that's the second law. I found it and updated my crude paraphrasing in the post above before my editing time ran out

Feb 4, 21 2:39 pm  · 

In my jurisdiction, drawings can only be stamped with the exact wording "Issued For Construction". But if it's not in your contract to apply for the permit, then it's really out of your hands. Just don't take any part of overseeing construction (in fact, if I found out my client went ahead and performed the work without a permit, I would cut all ties until that gets resolved).

Feb 4, 21 2:48 pm  · 

What country are you in?

Feb 4, 21 1:01 pm  · 
atelier nobody

N. O. P. E.

Feb 4, 21 2:01 pm  · 

Whenever I was in fear that a client would use my drawing to build from I put into the title block "not for construction".  This and no stamp puts the risk on the owner.  However, I don't see why any architect would prepare drawings that were good enough to build from, and not make sure the process is above board and in pursuit of a proper permit.

Apr 18, 21 6:33 pm  · 
1  · 
James Bragg

I get the feeling that the client might be wanting to do the project without a permit

@Nellers why do you have that feeling? Have you asked the client for clarification? What was their answer?

Apr 19, 21 12:56 pm  · 

“Owner / Contractor shall be responsible for obtaining all required permits.  These plans shall not be used for construction in the absence of all required permits.”  That’s all you should need.  

Apr 19, 21 2:00 pm  · 

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