Link Overview:

Section 1
Ethical Considerations...

Section 2
Terms of Engagement...

Section 3
Terms of Payment...

Section 4
Other Considerations...

Appendix A

Appendix B
Client/Prime Consultant/
Agreements ...
Section 2
Terms of Engagement




Care should be taken not only to select the best qualified Prime Consultant and Subconsultants but also to establish the scope of assignment and basis of fee that fully complements the services required to meet the needs of the project and the desired quality of the completed work. The most cost effective solution to a client's needs may not coincide with Consultant services of the least cost.


The role to be played by the Client with respect to the planning, financing, management or coordination of a project should be clearly defined before establishing the scope of assignment for the Prime Consultant.

The scope of assignment for the Prime Consultant should reflect his duty to protect public safety and to satisfy the expectations of the Client. Care should be taken to avoid overlap and/or duplication of services when preparing the scope of assignment for each Subconsultant. Even more important is the need to avoid gaps between the various scopes of assignment which will affect the quality of the finished project and also the efficiency of its execution.

Following are guidelines in establishing the scope of assignment for the Prime Consultant and Subconsultants:

1. The scope of assignment must meet the requirements of the governing codes and regulations.

2. The Prime Consultant is responsible for the adequacy of the scope of assignment for the whole project team based on the defined needs of the Client. This responsibility includes formally advising the Client of the consequences of scope restrictions.

3. Subconsultants must make the Prime Consultant aware, at the commencement of a project, of any special scope requirements which will affect the quality of their professional service.

4. Prime Consultants must not dictate, and Subconsultants must not accept, scope restrictions which may prejudice protection of the public and/or the needs of the Client.

5. In many projects, areas of overlap in scope will exist between disciplines. It is the responsibility of each Consultant to notify other Consultants when elements of his discipline may affect their work. The Prime Consultant, in coordinating the design team, should identify overlaps and gaps and deal appropriately with them.

6. The extent of each Consultant's scope of work should be based on the qualifications and expertise of the Consultant and the needs of the project; not on arbitrary divisions adopted in standard specification formats or bid depository rules.

7. The Prime Consultant should establish the degree to which he and his design team will delegate design assignments to the Contractor. Where such assignments are delegated to the Contractor, the design team should specify that qualified professionals be responsible for the design of all delegated components. (Refer to APEGGA Guideline titled Responsibility for Structural Design on General Engineering and Building Projects.)

8. The Client, the public and the approving authorities have a right to expect that each Consultant, whether in the role of Prime or Sub, will be responsible for the design and review of all aspects of the project falling within that Consultant's discipline, unless appropriate scope restrictions are clearly identified in any documents bearing the Consultant's seal.

2.3 FEES

The cost of consultant services is typically a small percentage of the full life capital and operating costs of a developed facility. The basis of fee must complement the scope and quality of service required to meet the needs of the project. While the level of fees may be negotiated to appropriately reflect the Client's needs, it should be recognized that inappropriate constraints in this area may adversely affect the quality of the final project.

Following are guidelines in establishing the basis of fee for Prime Consultants and Subconsultants:

1. The same basis of fee negotiated by the Prime Consultant with the Client should normally be used in his negotiations with Subconsultants. The agreements should be complementary and parallel. The basis of fee should reflect the principles described in the guidelines on Consultant Fees published by APEGGA.

2. The Prime Consultant should be prepared to disclose to the Client the scope and fee arrangements with all Subconsultants and thus establish an atmosphere of professionalism, trust and full disclosure of any potential conflict with the Client's interests.

When the Prime Consultant negotiates reductions in the Subconsultant's fees, (due to re-use of similar designs or the delegation of design work to contractors etc.) the savings in fees should accrue to the Client and not to the Prime Consultant.

3. The Client/Prime Consultant/Subconsultant agreement should be in writing using a clear and simple format (refer to Appendix B).

4. Changes in fee agreements due to unanticipated changes in the scope of services should be communicated in such a manner that all parties affected are informed with respect to the changes proposed and the consequences of not making the changes. Formal notification of requests for changes, combined with evidence of cost management and budget control, should be the basis on which such changes are negotiated.

5. Fees for Specialist Consultants should be negotiated based on their qualifications and experience and time expended. Specialist Consultant fees are normally negotiated independently from the Prime Consultant's fees and are usually paid either directly by the Client or by the Prime Consultant as additional services.

6. Selection of consultants should be made on the basis of qualification and experience and not on the basis of competitive bids. Where Clients request that the Prime Consultant use competitive bidding in the selection of consultants, the Prime Consultant should first advise the Client of the potential negative impact of this method of selection.


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