An architect can be held responsible for any structural flaws or defects in the building for which he/she was hired, for a maximum period of three years after the building is handed over to or occupied by the owner (whichever is earlier). This can lead to a consumer protection case as it is a deficiency in the service provided by the advocate.1
An architect is not responsible if the damage to the building has occurred in the following circumstances 2 :
- The building is used for the purposes other than for which it has been designed.
- Any changes to the building carried out by the owner without the consent or approval of the architect who designed and/ or supervised the construction of the building.
- Any changes, alterations or modifications are carried out by consulting another architect without the knowledge and consent of the architect hired initially or without obtaining No Objection Certificate from him.
- Illegal/unauthorised changes, alteration, renovations or modifications carried out by the owners.
- Any compromise with the safety norms by the owner.
- Distress due to leakage from terrace, toilets, water logging within the vicinity of the building and that would affect the strength/stability of the structure or general well-being.
- Lack of periodical maintenance or inadequate maintenance by the owners. .
- Damages are caused by any `specialised consultants’ hired for design and supervision work, who were appointed/ engaged in consultation with the Client.
- Damages are caused to the building for the reasons beyond the control of the architect.
- Architects Professional Guidelines, Council of Architecture, point 6, https://www.coa.gov.in/index1.php?lang=1&level=1&sublinkid=271&lid=250.
- Architects Professional Guidelines, Council of Architecture, point 4.3 https://www.coa.gov.in/index1.php?lang=1&level=1&sublinkid=271&lid=250.