THE ARCHITECT'S POSITION UNDER THE BUILDING CONTRACT.
Whatever powers the architect has, under the building con tract, which is a contract between the owner and the contractor, are not powers which he himself can enforce. The parties to that contract have not, by virtue thereof, bound themselves to him. They have made mutual promises, and have given to the acts of the architect, as between themselves, a certain force. By virtue of this agreement either party to it may hold the other to this provision giving effect to the architects action. But the architect himself cannot insist upon having that effect given to his acts. In a sense, it may be said that he has rights, but, legally speaking, he has no rights under the contract. Whatever contractual rights he has as against the owner or contractor must be by virtue of some contract to which he is a party. And whatever similar rights the other parties have against him must be by virtue of sonic contract to which he is a party. To illustrate—the building contract usually provides for inspection by the architect. Should the contractor refuse to permit this inspection, the refusal would be a breach of his contractual duty to the owner; but the archi tect himself would have no legal cause of complaint against the contractor, for the contractor's promise in regard to inspection was made, not to the architect, but to the owner; the only legal cause for complaint would therefore be in the owner. Bearing this in mind, what, merely as between the owner and contractor, are the duties and powers with which the architect is invested by the building contract ? As Regards Certificates. It is commonly provided in the building contract that payments for work shall be conditional upon the giving of certificates by the architect. Such a provision in an ordinary contract applies to extras as well as to the specified work, since extras are contemplated and provided for in the contract.. Inasmuch as the giving of the certificate demands an exercise of judgment on the part of the person giving it, such certificate should be given only by the party named to give it—by the architect himself—and on his own knowledge of the facts; unless, indeed, there is an express provision in the contract authorizing him to delegate this duty to another. Where there is such a provision
for delegation a certificate by the party to whom the duty has been delegated is, of course, valid.
Similarly the certificate of the architect must be strictly in the form provided for in the contract. If the contract does not provide that the certificate shall be in writing there is no rule of law precluding a certificate by word of mouth. Were there space within the limits of this article, many decisions might be cited holding certificates sufficient or insufficient under the contracts applying to the respective cases. The following will suffice to show what sort of question arises: Tn an Illinois ease (Barney v. Giles, 120 I11. 154), the build ing contract provided that payment in full should be made "on the presentation of the architect's certificate certifying that the con tract has been and truly performed, and accepted by him, and that all damages or allowances which should be paid or made by the parties of the second part, have been deducted from the amount of the said final certificate". A certificate was given, the substantial part of which was as follows: "This is to certify that Barney & Rodatz, contractors for the mason work of your additional stores, are entitled to a payment of $1,070.78, by the terms of contract.
L6 Remarks—Work has been measured at building ".
It was held that this certificate was insufficient because it did not state that there were no claims for damages; and that the mere fact that no claims had been presented did not remedy the defect.
Where the architect certifies to the work at its different stages, i.e., gives interim certificates, he should be very careful not to overestimate the work clone, because if lie does overestimate, 111d the contractor abandons his contract, the owner will be kit i11 the position of having paid more for the finished portion of the work than it was worth, and the architect May find himself personally liable for the amount in excess of what he should have certified to.