This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Wherever any act of the architect has by the building contract been given a certain force as regards owner and builder, the architect must be careful to make his action exactly like that described in the contract in order that the agreed force may attach to it. "Whatever authority or power is given the architect is strictly construed by the courts; that is, the architect must exercise his authority or power strictly in the manner provided therefor in the contract, and if he exercises it in any other manner, it is not binding on the other parties. For example, an architect who may by the contract give written orders for extras or for variations from the contract, has no authority to give oral orders, and the owner will not be bound by any such oral orders. "What constitutes a written order for variations from the contract is often a very difficult question to determine, Some courts hold that detailed plans are written orders for variations from the contract as represented by general plans, while other courts hold that they are not written orders within the meaning of the contract. This is often an important matter, because if there is a variance between the general and detailed plans, and the builder constructs according to the detailed plans, the contract having been made to construct according to the general drawings or plans, and the architect having authority to order variations by written orders only, then the builder cannot recover the contract price unless such detailed plans are considered as constituting written orders within the meaning of the contract.