What makes a good client from the architect’s perspective?

The client

The client is an essential component in the building process. It is for them that the work is being undertaken and it is important to remember that they are the reason for the project, as well as the person who signs the cheques.

The client must: 

Wall finish of copper pennies for Paul Smith boutique
  • Assure themselves of the feasibility and opportunity for the works
  • Determine the location of the project
  • Define the brief
  • Indicate the scope and budget for the project
  • Provide the finances
  • Chose the procurement process
  • Undertake a contract for the execution of the design phases
  • Ensure the reception of the works

The importance of the design brief

The brief is very important for the architect and is often forgotten by the client. RB-Architects will follow the elaboration of the brief, guide the design and assist the client in approving the final document. The brief and budget must be defined before the start of the design phases and finalised before the work begins on site. There are certain exceptions to this, for example during refit or refurbishment works where the extent of the works cannot be known in advance.

The client’s obligations with regard to French regulations

The oligations of the client with respect to French regulations are as follows:


  • Put in place the general principles necessary to avoid accidents.
  • Designate a health and safety coordinator for the concept and building phases of the project.
  • Inform the official organisations submitting a ‘Déclaration Préalable d’Intention de Constuire’ if applicable.
  • Ensure the establishment of a general plan for health and safety coordination.
  • Undertake examination of the existing site conditions as required.
  • In case of a development within a zone ‘ZAC’, consultation with the other clients/developers is required.
  • Form if required a CISSCT (collège interentreprises de sécurité, de santé et des conditions de travail).
  • In the fight against the employment of illegal workers the client must ensure that the contractor and sub-contractors are within the law and to insist that the employment of illegal workers ceases if he discovers that it is going on.