Committee News

Practice Committee: Important Notice regarding Requests from Lending Institutions

January 3, 2024

The MAA has been made aware that lending institutions have been requesting (either directly or through the client) that architects provide certificates of status regarding the project and information concerning the value of construction completed; and some have created their own forms, for completion by the architect.

Given concerns, the MAA has sought a legal opinion and received confirmation that:

  • Conflicts of interest arise, as and where a third-party lender asks for written assurances from the architect:
    • concerning matters that fall outside the practice of architecture and members' scope of expertise (in relation to adherence to laws, regulations and building codes); and/or
    • concerning the adequacy of budgeting and funding for a particular project; and/or
    • an understanding that the lender will be relying upon the contents of such written assurances.
  • Such action would breach ethical and professional conduct provisions outlined in the Association's By-Laws, with respect to the architect's duty to avoid conflict of interest and act solely in the client's best interests.

Consistent with the legal opinion obtained, the MAA Council is therefore directing members not to provide information regarding a client's project directly to the client's lending institution, through completion of the lending institution's customized form or otherwise. In addition, if a member knows that a client will be sharing documents and information obtained from the architect (ie. payment certificates and/or site review reports) with the client's lending institution, it is recommended that an unambiguous disclaimer be included on documents, to shield the architect and their firm from third party liability; which has been upheld in Canadian Courts.

The MAA's Practice Committee is in the process of developing a Practice Bulletin concerning the matter, which will provide more detail (including sample wording for disclaimers that might be considered); and which will be posted on the MAA's website, and publicly available, once finalized.