As already shown, an agreement between owner and contractor that the architect's certificate shall be conclusive between them is binding, and under such an agreement the architect's certificate can be disregarded only on certain grounds. The building agreement may in like manner give binding effect to the architect's determination of various matters, and such agreement may be binding upon the parties. In connection with such agreements, however, the legal principles before stated in connection with arbitration clauses (under the heading "Legality of Contract") is important. Under the law as there stated, general provisions for arbitration of disputed points are not binding, The proper way of drawing thes6 clauses for the settlement of disputed matters is to make the decision of the architect a condition precedent to any action upon a disputed point. The decision of the architect may then be made conclusive upon both parties, and in accordance with the intention of the parties will be enforced by a court.

Wherever the architect acts as referee to determine matters in dispute he should of course act with impartial justice towards the parties. As he is employed and paid by the owner, and as his functions under the building contract are largely for the purpose of protecting the owner's interest, it may be somewhat difficult for him to take an unbiased attitude. His position is in fact anomalous. Engaged and paid by the owner, often with a personal interest to keep the cost within fixed limits, looking chiefly after the interests of the owner, for whom he may be for some purposes the agent, he is nevertheless called upon to weigh certain matters with a fair and undiscriminating regard for the rights both of the owner and of another person having directly opposite interests. Yet the reference of disputed points to him assumes that he will take such an impartial attitude, and the binding force of his decision would be destroyed if it could be shown that he had decided a question not with judicial impartiality, but as a partisan. It may therefore be said that in his function of adjusting disputes, the architect acts in a quasi-judicial capacity.