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General Review – Building Code (BC) and Non-Code Related Matters


02 October 2008

  • Summary

    The architect must decide the frequency of general review services in order that it satisfies both contractual and professional obligations. A systematic approach helps achieve this objective.

  • Background

    The Architect’s Act and the Professional Engineer’s Act sets out the requirements for general review of buildings to be provided by appropriate professionals.

    This Practice Tip combines the Building Code (BC) related issues with non-Code related issues forming the total spectrum of general review and contract administration services where the architect’s contract provides for BC and non-Code issues.
    Although this document refers to the situation when a client engages a holder of a certificate of practice, it also applies to those situations where an architect is engaged in the practice of architecture as an employee of an organization which does not provide a service that is part of the practice of architecture to a member of the public and therefore does not have a certificate of practice. In those situations the responsibilities of the architect are the same in order to comply with the requirements of the BC and the Regulation under the Architects Act.

  • Suggested procedure

    1. Review this document and the applicable chapters in the Canadian Handbook of Practice (CHOP) and establish a scope of services including an estimated schedule of visits commensurate with the size and complexity of the project. Do this when preparing your fee quotation and discuss the general review process with your client in sufficient detail to satisfy yourself that there is mutual understanding of the scope of your services. Execute a contract between your client and yourself which records the agreed to scope of services, related fees and an amending provision to adjust the contract should circumstances differ from what was agreed.

    2. Review the contract administration services including the general review schedule of visits when the construction contract has been awarded, making adjustments as necessary. Identify to the contractor all specific events about which you will require sufficient advance notification, particularly in relation to the scheduling of the portions of the work which will require pre-construction meetings.          
    3. Inter-relate with consultants, testing and inspection agencies and others whose services you are coordinating, and advise them of your expectations for recording and reporting on-site activities and any other contract administration services.           
    4. Review the construction contract documents and the client/architect contract to predetermine what you will be reviewing. Prepare a checklist to facilitate your review and other services.              
    5.If your client,
    i.  Does not engage you to undertake the general review of the construction,
    ii. Terminates your services during the general review of the construction, or
    iii. Engages you to undertake general reviews that differs in any way from the responsibilities herein described, you should, make the client aware in writing of the requirements of the BC, and also notify the CBO in writing of your status in relation to the requirement for the general review of the construction to be undertaken by an architect.


    6. Conduct your review systematically in an established routine or pattern.

    7. Prepare and submit required general review reports to your client, the contractor and the CBO.
    8. If you are responsible for the coordination of engineering consultants, organize their review of the corresponding checklist items to complement your review.
    If you are not responsible for the coordination of engineering consultants, either cooperate with whoever is coordinating all consultants and forward a copy of your review to them, or, in the alternative, submit your review directly to the CBO with notations alongside of items not reviewed by you. You should also advise your client in writing that you are not responsible for,

    1.  Other consultant’s failure to provide the services for which he/she has been retained.

    2. The contractor’s failure to carry out the work in accordance with the contract documents.

    9. Utilize OAA/OGCA (Ontario General Contractors Association) Take-Over Procedures, Document No. 100 current edition, for recommended procedures concerning substantial performance and completion of take-over projects.

    10. At the appropriate time, conduct a review to determine if the work can be signed-off and if so, submit the final general review report to the owner, contractor, CBO and, if appropriate, to the other consultants. Continue performing general review services on the balance of the project until outstanding deficiencies have been addressed and signed off.

  • Definitions

    “general review”, in relation to the construction, enlargement or alteration of a building, means an examination of the building to determine whether the construction, enlargement or alteration is in general conformity with the design governing the construction, enlargement or alteration, an reporting thereon; (“examen de conformité”) from Architects Act.

  • References

    Canadian Handbook of Practice for Architects: Contract Administration Field Functions

    OAA/OGCA Document No. 100, December, 12, 2007 EABO Templates

  • Documents

    General Review Report (pdf)


    Final General Review Report



© Ontario Association of Architects (OAA). OAA members in good standing may reproduce or distribute this Practice Tip provided this copyright notice is affixed to any reproduced or distributed copy. No rights are granted to any other person, except with express prior written consent from the OAA. The OAA reserves all other rights.