3 Days Countdown to My Final Paper

in OCD2 years ago (edited)

3 days counting down before the written test and I am still preparing for the final test. Every day, I am literally spending 5-8 hours on studying and making notes, refreshing my memory about different aspects of professional practice. Now, I will be focusing to finish up the remaining items that I have yet to go through which is the PAM Contract and then I will be diving into revising the past years.

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- Elements of a contract

1. Offer - the client offering a job
2. Acceptance - the job is accepted by the vendor
3. Intentions - the mutual intention to enter a legal relationship which the contract is agreed by both parties and stamped
4. Consideration - sufficient consideration which means each party must exchange something of value in the offer and acceptance
5. Certainty - terms of collaboration are clear and precise
6. Legality - the purpose of the collaboration has to be legal, meaning it is not to be illegal or immoral or opposed to public policy
7. Capacity - both parties have to be competent enough for the contract
8. Consent - genuine and free consent where the agreement must have been made by the free consent of both parties. The contract will be voided in case of mutual mistakes or obtained by unfair means

- Statutory

As a regulated profession, architects are bound to serve the people with their skill and knowledge not only from designing beautiful buildings but also helping the clients to comply with statutory requirements. In statutory requirements, the two main concern is about public safety as well as the building is fitted with purpose. In other words, as an architect, we have to make sure that the building is designed and built according to the standards that are set mainly to ensure the safety of the users like fire safety (fire fighting and fire escape), structure integrity, quality of the building materials and building accessibility for the disabled. Other than that, there are other requirements like how many units a development can have, facilities and vehicle parking that should be provided, infrastructure to build and many more. All of these are the scope that an architect provides to the client under statutory requirements. 

- Contractual

Other than statutory requirements, there are also contractual requirements as well like the scope of works especially the contractual agreement of client with the contractor. The architect will take the role as the contract manager to manage and coordinate all related parties which include the issuance of certificates, site inspections, ensuring the quality delivered, moderate disputes and cost estimation. 

For an architect, there are 5 phases of Basic Services that are usually provided in a set to the client:

1. Schematic Design Phase - in this phase, the main part is to do the planning for the project which includes the planning for the building programs, preliminary design, preliminary cost estimation and getting the approval of planning approval.
2. Design Development Phase - in this phase, the main part is to detail up the design of the project into different parts like building, building's substructure and superstructure, infrastructure, mechanical and electrical features as well as landscaping. All of these inputs will be translated into submission drawings that will be submitted to relevant technical agencies and local authority to obtain approval for implementation.
3. Contract Documentation Phase - during the documentation phase, the architect's role is to compile all the required documents like:
    1. the Letter of Award
    2. the Articles of Agreement
    3. the Condition of Contract
    4. the Contract Drawings
    5. the Contract Bills (comprised of Instructions to Tenderers, Condition of Tendering, Form of Tender, Preliminaries, Preambles and Specifications, and Bills of Quantities)
    6. and other documents incorporated in the Contract Documents

    In this phase, there will be a conclusion on who will be the contract be awarded to and most parts of the design and specification is finalized so that all tenderer could have a fair chance to bid for the project.

4. Contract Implementation and Management Phase - in this phase, the client will handover the site possession to the awarded contractor for a period of time to deliver all the works. During the project implementation, the architect will need to manage the contract and deal with relevant site issues. In a construction site, there are many parties involved doing different things at the same time. Thus, documentation is utterly important for such a process to keep track and ensure the liability of each party is clear and not conflicting. With the nature of the works incurs a large sum of money, it is crucial to have systematic process flow to ensure that the deliverables are done accordingly and any fault can be spotted and rectified as soon as possible without affecting to the critical items much. The architect who is in-charging this phase would bear great responsibility on any site issue and he or she will need to chair the site meeting (usually biweekly) to update the site progress, issues and also action plans. 
5. Final Completion Stage - this is when the project is done and Certificate of Practical Completion is issued to the contractor and the Certificate of Compliance and Completion is handover to the client or owner. After that, there is still a Defect Liability Period (usually 24 months) to see any patent defects in the building. Once all the defects are cleared, then Certificate of Make Good Defects is issued and the final account is done for. That only will conclude the scope of works of an architect for a project. It is definitely very draggy and it may take up to decades to fully complete a project. 

- Professional & Moral

Speaking of professional and moral, as any person out there providing services to customers, it is important that we always strive to provide the best experience we can for the customers. For an architect, not only we need to be imaginative and innovative when it comes to design, we also need to be sensitive to the surrounding context (so that we can connect our design with the local community well), competent when handling statutory and contractual requirements. 

In essence, as a professional, we need to become a trustworthy role that is competent and considerate for the client and the larger group of people that we serve which is the public. Being professional is another whole topic that I can talk about specifically.

- Given reference

- Architects Act
- Architects Rules
- Scale of Minimum Fees
- Uniform Building By Law
- Street, Drainage, Building Act
- Strata Titles Act
- Housing Development Act
- PAM Contract
- PAM Sub-Contract
- Circulars & Other references

All of the above are given reference materials during the written test which stretches from 9am to 12.30pm for the morning session and 2pm to 5.30pm for the afternoon session. Two papers with 8 questions are required to be answered. The time does not scare us but the amount of writing that we need to do in order to finish two papers at one go is definitely challenging. In the middle, we will have 1 and a half hours to rest and chill before the next paper continue. Guess that time I will only have some light lunch so that I can fully enjoy the dinner for the night! Really looking forward for the coming test.