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DIR 01/18 | Fees

Over the past couple of years, the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti has received an ever increasing number of complaints from members of the public regarding fees charged by periti. In most cases, the situation arises because the periti involved do not inform their clients of the fees that will be charged for the services rendered.

Although the Council of the Kamra tal-Periti does not enter into disputes relating to fees charged by periti, in view of the fact that clients have other means of redress for such issues, the Council would nevertheless like to draw your attention to Regulation 20 of Tariff K of the Code of Organisation and Civil Procedure, which states that:

20(a)  The foregoing provisions of this Tariff shall not prohibit a Perit and his client, from agreeing on a fee, or the basis on which the fee is to be determined which is different from that established by this Tariff, and in any case the agreed fee or basis for determining it, not being a basis prohibited by law, shall apply, subject to the provisions of the following sub-paragraphs:

          Provided that in any case, a Perit shall inform his client of the applicable fee or the basis on which the fee is to be determined before the service is provided.

20(b)  For the purposes of this paragraph, an agreement concerning fess shall be in writing.

 

It is therefore, not only in your interest, but it is also your obligation to ensure that any agreement on fees is made in writing, and that the services covered by such fee are clearly outlined.

Please be guided accordingly.

 

Alex Torpiano
President

 

DIR 01/15 | Drawings, Design Documents and Intellectual Property of a Perit

It has come to the Kamra’s attention that Periti are frequently facing demands by their Client/s to provide a copy of drawings or other design documents in digital editable format.

Drawings, illustrations and/or other design documents are the intellectual property of the Perit that prepared them and there exists no obligation to provide these to a third party save for the purposes of statutory requirements and provision of a printed copy to the Client.

Although the Clients reimburse Periti for their professional services, with respect to designs, drawings and other design-related documents created by the Periti, the Client is entitled solely to their use and acquires no other rights over them.

Although not obliged to do so, Periti may choose to provide a copy of the relevant documents to the Client in locked digital format (such as Pdf) but there exists no obligation to provide same in an editable digital format (such as dwg files) unless this is specifically established in the Agreement between the Perit and the Client, which Agreement must be in accordance with Article 20 of Tariff K.

In the event that a Perit does decide (voluntarily and without obligation) to provide a Client or any other relevant third party with copy of such documents in editable format, then he is within his rights in demanding whatever remuneration he considers appropriate, over and above any other remuneration received in respect of professional services rendered, save where this is precluded by Agreement as outlined in the previous paragraph.

In the case of surveys of existing property however, where the measurements are taken and the relevant drawings of the building or property in its existing state are prepared by the Perit, in this case alone, the Client has the right to request provision of such drawings in editable format from the Perit, given that such survey includes no additional input of creative design work or similar by the Perit and is merely a record of the existing state of affairs.

Christopher Mintoff
President

DIR 04/09 | Procedure for ‘Change of Architect’ and/or withdrawal from a commission

Following the issue of MEPA Circular 03/09 and the subsequent issue of Chamber Directive DIR 03/09 dated 7 August and 10 August respective, representatives of the Chamber of Architects & Civil Engineers have met with the MEPA Chairman to discuss a number of issues associated with cases where a Client wishes to employ a second Perit to replace the one he/she had previously engaged and in cases where a Perit wishes to withdraw from a commission whether or not the Client has engaged a replacement.

Following the discussions held, it has been decided that with immediate effect, MEPA will revert back to the system as existed prior to the issue of its Cricular 03/09, dated 7th August 2009. Furthermore, and in order to improve the system and to avoid any misunderstanding, the following proceudres are to be adopted by all Periti:

  1. Termination by the Client prior to the Issue of a Development Permit
    The responsible Perit is to immediately inform MEPA of his withdrawal from the case and the subsequent relinquishing of all associated responsibilities, by means of a registered letter, with a copy to the Client and preferably also to the Chamber.
  2. Termination by the Client after the Issue of a Development Permit
    The responsible Perit is to immediately inform MEPA of the client’s instructions given to him/her and of his/her subsequent relinquishing of responsibility for any works beyond the indicated date, by means of a registered letter, together with copies of the said letter, preferably by registered mail to the Police Authorities of the locality where the development is taking place, the Local Council of the same locality, the Contractor, if applicable, to the Client and preferably also to the Chamber.
  3. Termination by the Perit originally engaged by the Client
    The Perit is to immediately inform the Client by means of a formal Withdrawal Notice sent by registered mail, declaring his resignation from the commission and relinquishing of associated responsibilities (save for works already carried out). If a permit a permit application is involved, the Perit is also to send a copy of the Withdrawal Notice to MEPA and if the permit has already been issued, further copies of the Withdrawal Notice are to be sent preferably by registered mail to the Police Authorities of the locality where the development is taking place, the Local Council of the same locality, the Contractor, if applicable, the Client and preferably also the Chamber.
  4. Taking over from another Perit
    Regardless of whether the commission of the original Perit engaged was terminated by the Client or by the said Perit himself/herself, the Perit engaged to take over, shall immediately advise the originally engaged Perit formally and in writing of his/her being requested to take over the commission. If a MEPA permit or application is involved, the second Perit shall approach the first Perit and request his endorsement on the appropriate Change of Architect‘ form provided that it is either already endorsed by the Perit that is taking over, or the two hold a meeting and endorse the said form on the same occasion.

The Chamber of Architects and Civil Engineers is currently in consultation with MEPA in order to establish a mechanism through which MEPA, upon receiving the Notice of Withdrawal, will advise the Applicant/Client to terminate the works (if applicable) and appoint another Perit and furnish a ‘Change of Architect‘ form endorsed by both the incoming and the outgoing Perit within an established period of time in default of which the Application will be withdrawn or the Permit suspended.

Moreover, MEPA will be informing the Chamber of any instances where the Applicant/Client informs it that although he/she has requested the original Perit to sign the ‘Change of Architect‘ form the latter has refused, or is unwilling to do so and the Chamber will be referring all relevant cases for appropriate disciplinary action.

All Periti are to note that ‘Change of Architect’ forms should only be endorsed upon receipt of a formal request by another Perit and provided that either the form has been already endorsed by the Perit who is taking over or provided that a meeting is held between the two and endorsed by both on the same occasion. Moreover, all Periti are to inform their CLients of this accordingly. Periti are also to note that any pending issues between themselves and their Client, such as unpaid fees or similar, are not an admissible reason to withhold their handing over of a commission to a colleague and furnishing of the appropriate endorsed form.

Finally, the Chamber wishes to reiterate, as it has already done in previous directives, that it is a serious breach of the Code of Professional Conduct for a Perit to refuse to furnish his endorsement on a ‘Change of Architect’ form when requested to do so by a colleague who has been engaged to take over the works, provided that the said form has already been endorsed by the said colleague or that a meeting is held between the two to endorse the form on the same occasion. Moreover, it is also a serious breach of the Code of Professional Conduct for a Perit to take over a commission originally undertaken by a colleague without first informing the said colleague in a formal and appropriate fashion.