The Institute recommends that the architect and the client have a signed, written agreement that, as a minimum, clearly defines the services to be provided and the fees to be paid. This agreement should be entered into before the architect commences work on a project. In some states, it is a legal requirement for an architect to enter into a written agreement with the client. See the NSW, Queensland, SA and Victorian Codes of conduct notes.
A clearly written and appropriate agreement is the most effective way to avoid misunderstandings and disputes during a project and the associated costs and risks.
This is why the Institute has developed and publishes for its architect members a series of consultancy agreements like the 2019 Client Architect Agreement to assist them in practice, as well as to help them meet professional obligations to give clients a written agreement.
In cases where your client does not wish to use the Institute’s consultancy agreements, another alternative is the Australian Standard Consultancy Agreement, AS 4122.