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.
The first part of an architect's duty in any given employment is ordinarily the drawing of plans. In this work he acts substantially as another person of skill might act in another capacity - a lawyer in drawing a will, or a physician in treating a case. It is sometimes said he is at this stage the agent of the owner; but in the typical case no questions of agency are practically involved, and it is doubtful if the architect may not be considered at this stage as in the position of an independent contractor.
The plans being completed and accepted, the architect often acts for his employer in getting bids. At this time he may be invested with powers as agent of the owner. But this can be only by express agreement, and the architect should be extremely careful not to make any representations or arrangements in which he may seem to act for the owner unless there is unquestionable authority to bind the latter. Otherwise, as has been seen, the architect may make himself personally liable. Where the architect has no power as agent, but is concerned in assisting his employer, without having power to bind him, it may be well for the architect to state expressly that he has no authority to bind the owner, and that his inquiries or suggestions are made only for the purpose of submitting the results. At this stage, then, an architect may by special arrangement be agent of the owner, or there may be no agency involved, or an agency so narrow, in the mere advertising for bids, or receiving offers, as to present no questions of importance.
When the contract between the owner and the builder, called the "building contract", has been made, the architect has certain powers and duties under that contract. Of course the owner may invest the architect at this stage also with various powers as his agent. Such powers, depending upon the agreement in each c cannot be profitably discussed here. The general observations on the subject of agency will apply. But as to the powers and duties of the architect under the building contract, there is now such conformity in building contracts, and the position of the architect i substantially similar in the majority of cases, that the matter may well be considered. With "The Uniform Contract,": which is now very commonly used, it will be well for the student to become familiar.