KBS Reference Desk: Engaging Architects for Construction

Q:        After some severe weather, our facilities are in need of significant repairs, including roof patching, flooring replacement, etc. We have discussed the work with a local contractor, and he estimated the cost will be around $60,000. We are starting the competitive bidding process to select a contractor to perform all of the work. We’ve already had an engineer prepare the engineering plans for the mechanical/electric issues. However, since this is not new construction with no new design elements, do we still have to hire an architect to complete drawings or specifications prior to bidding?

A:        Possibly. An architect will be required if the work will impact the structural integrity of a facility, including removing or relocating walls or altering any building exits.

            For repairs or alterations to existing structures, as in this case, the Texas Occupations Code (regulating the practice of architecture) requires that a plan or specification be prepared by an architect (rather than just the contractor) when the work meets the following conditions: (1) it is owned by a political subdivision (including a public school); (2) the building will be used for education, assembly or office occupancy; (3) the work will include “removal, relocation, or addition of a wall or partition or the alteration or addition of an exit;” and (4) the repair/construction costs will exceed $50,000.

 In some instances, general contractors may feel that the repairs can be completed without the need for an architect; however, a school district should always ask detailed questions about the scope of the projects in order to determine compliance with the Occupations Code. Failure to use an architect in violation of the Occupations Code may result in an investigation by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners.  If an architect is used, the district must select one in accordance with the Professional Services Procurement Act, Government Code Chapter 2254 (as with Professional Engineers). The Act provides that a professional services provider may not be selected on the basis of competitive bids, but rather (1) on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications to perform the services; and (2) for a fair and reasonable price. Tex. Gov’t Code 2254.003.

This flowchart developed by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners provides an easy step-by-step process for determining the need for an architect for your project.

https://www.tbae.texas.gov/Content/documents/LawsEnforcement/ArchRequiredFlowChart.pdf

 Lastly, whether utilizing an architect and/or a general contractor, always consult your school district’s attorney, as your counsel will likely recommend significant revisions to the standard AIA contract or other written agreement proposed by the professional selected.

 

Related Posts

Recent Articles

KBS Reference Desk: Felony Conviction and School Board Candidates
April 9, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: T-TESS Rubric Virtual
April 2, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: COVID-19 Vaccination Status Questions and EEO Laws
March 26, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Certification Addendum
March 19, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Lifting of Mask Mandate and Implications for UIL Activities
March 12, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Identification of TPIA Requestor
March 5, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Pay During Closure
February 26, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccines and Quarantine
February 19, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Face Masks and the First Amendment
February 12, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Virtual Learning and Child Find
February 5, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: American Rescue Plan
January 29, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Spring Testing
January 22, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: TOMA Suspension Extension – Additional 30 days
January 15, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: Updated FFCRA Guidance
January 8, 2021
KBS Reference Desk: New Stay-at-Home Protocols
December 18, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Vaccine as a Requirement for School Attendance
December 11, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Campus Closure due to COVID-19 and Funding
December 4, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Nonexempt Volunteer Work
November 20, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Required Transition from Virtual to ON-campus Learning
November 13, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: TPIA – 10-day Extension
November 6, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Discontinue Virtual Learning
October 30, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Political Dress
October 23, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Emergency Safety Drills
October 16, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Requests for Homebound Instruction During COVID
October 9, 2020
KBS Reference Desk: Mask Exception
October 2, 2020