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Sustainability Leadership for the Built Environment (IDBE)

Part-time Master's and Postgraduate Certificate courses from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
Architect's Legal Pocket Book - Matthew Cousins, IDBE alumnus

Q&A with Matthew Cousins, author of "Architect's Legal Pocket Book, 2nd Edition"

Author Matthew Cousins discusses what's new to this edition of Architect’s Legal Pocket Book.

Why did Architect’s Legal Pocket Book, 2nd Edition need to be written?

Architecture is a high risk profession. Projects often go wrong and as a result, architects should have an understanding of their roles and responsibilities in practice. Architects can become liable through a lack of technical knowledge, a lack of understanding the role of the architect and Contract Administrator role. The Architect’s Legal Pocketbook provides a key summary of legal issues and is an easy to use reference book for architects and architectural students.

What’s new to this edition?

The book is fully updated to reflect new cases, legislation and legal issues of professional practice. The chapter on contracts and procurement methods is fully updated. This chapter includes a comparison of the RIBA Domestic and Concise Contracts with other forms of contracts for smaller and larger size projects. There is a new chapter on liability and practice which describes the RIBA Plan of Work 2013, BIM and the role of the lead consultant. There is also an updated section on how to avoid common problems in buildings, inspection duties and updates on key cases.

What got you interested in this?

I have always been interested in legal issues in the construction industry and became more interested when studying the legal exam during my part 111 professional course. This interest has developed further whilst working as a practicing architect and being involved with legal issues in practice.

Are there any key messages you’d like to highlight?

The risk that an architect might take on, whether knowingly or not, are not straightforward or uniform throughout the duration of the project. Risks can develop and evolve over the course of a project and can also manifest and become apparent after many years. As a result, architects have to be aware of risk and their legal liabilities which form an essential part of the architect’s professional duty of care.