What is the architect’s responsibility?
The architect, in the context of his duties, may be liable for :
contractual in case of absence or bad execution of his obligations foreseen in the contract signed with the client or subcontracting ;
in tort in the event of personal injury or damage to third parties.
The nature and scope of his missions are generally defined in a contract and his obligations end with the acceptance and lifting of reservations issued on the modalities and materials of the works.
The architect is only responsible for faults that are personally attributable to him (excluding those committed by the contractor, for example).
The architect is subject to deontological obligations, as well as to the respect of the “rules of the art”, i.e. the uses specific to the profession, such as ensuring the good execution of the work envisaged in the plans, for example.
Moreover, he is bound by a wide-ranging duty to inform, assist, be prudent and advise in the image of his mission, which begins at the design stage of the work and which may continue during the execution of the work until its acceptance (building permit, risks relating to the construction, design, cost of the work, conformity defects, etc.). Thus, he is bound by a duty of supervision in the context of the direction and control of the works.
If one of these duties is not respected, he will be held responsible on the contractual ground, within the limits of his skills and knowledge. It will be up to the plaintiff to prove the fault committed by the architect.
It is mandatory for the architect to have insurance covering his professional liability and that of his employees. Each contract between the architect and the client includes a certificate of insurance.
It should be noted that by virtue of the decennial responsibility, provided for in articles 1792 and following of the Civil Code, the responsibility and the guarantee of the architect can be sought as from the reception of work. At the end of this period, it will no longer be possible to seek his liability on the contractual ground, but only on the extra-contractual ground or for fraudulent conduct.