ACEC-BC Member Bulletin

Unintended Scope – use of RAIC Doc 6 for Electrical and Mechanical Consulting Services

 ACEC-BC Member Bulletin: 

Member Bulletins are articles developed by ACEC-BC Committees and Working Groups and published for use by consulting engineering companies as a general resource. The information provided highlights relevant issues and practices for the industry and should not be construed as legal advice.

About this Bulletin – RAIC Doc 6 Contract:

RAIC Doc 6 is a standard form agreement common in architectural assignments[1] and is often used as a basis for sub-consultant engineering service agreements with Terms and Conditions that flow down on a back-to-back basis. This bulletin is relevant for consulting engineers providing electrical or mechanical design services[2] to Architects using RAIC Doc 6 who may wish to clarify standard terms to avoid ambiguity or unintended scope.

For reference, RAIC Doc 6 Schedule A describes services to be provided by the Architect; sub-consultants to the Architect are encouraged to review the Editing Note at the beginning of Schedule A, particularly the section on deleting inapplicable items:

“Editing Note: This Schedule must be reviewed line-by-line and edited to suit the circumstances of each individual contract. It is intended for use as a checklist in the first instance. Review each item to determine whether it is applicable/required, determine the applicable method of fee determination, and insert the appropriate alphanumeric designation in the far right column. Alternatively, at the user’s discretion, inapplicable items may also simply be deleted, although it is generally advisable to clearly indicate those Services that will NOT be provided by the Architect by leaving them in the schedule and designating them as “N/A” or “C”. The headings and descriptive language provided are intended to be generally appropriate for most required services but should be reviewed and edited for appropriateness to the needs of individual Architects, Clients and contracts.”

It is expected that detailed scope of work for each sub-consultant will be specified in a separate sub-consulting agreement, and that the following information will serve to highlight some matters that may require clear communication with the Architect. It is important that scope of work in the sub-consulting agreement(s) is compatible with scope specified in the prime agreement between the Client and the Architect and among the sub-consulting agreements, and that specific items of work are assigned to the appropriate sub-consultant without overlap, omission, or ambiguity.

Section 1.3 – Electrical Consulting Services

RAIC Doc 6, Schedule A, Section 1.3 reads:

“Engage an electrical engineer for all services related to electrical systems and their controls including: normal and emergency power; lighting; communications; lightning protection; grounding; fire protection; access control; and other special systems. If the Work involves expansion to, or renovation of, an existing building, services include modifications and upgrades to existing electrical components and systems.”

When considering assignment scope, it is appropriate that all items listed following the word “including” be considered. As written, the client is able to call for all systems listed to be part of – the scope. Items that are not intended to be part of the scope of services should be removed.

  • General use of “other special systems” is ambiguous. The consultant is encouraged to seek definition of the term or to remove this from the contract.
  • Reference to “modifications and upgrades” regarding scope for expansion or renovation does not properly describe a scope of services which may include upgrade to meet current codes or other relevant work. The consultant may wish to define the scope associated with “modifications and upgrades”.

For example, “other systems” may include items like lighting controls, AV, specialty healthcare systems (nurse call), and UPS, while “access control” (or “security” in Sections 1.21 and 1.22) may include alarms, closed-circuit video, etc. Some items may be common to both lists; it is important to ensure that if Sections 1.3 and Sections 1.21 or 1.22 are both required under the contract that scope is not duplicated.

Section 1.21 – Security Consulting Services, Section 1.22 – Building Security and Communications Systems Consulting Services

Consulting engineers must also be aware of potential for scope ambiguity or overlapping / duplication of scope between Section 1.3 and Sections 1.21 and 1.22.

Schedule A is set up as a menu of items that are identified as included or excluded. As a result of duplication of scope (or ambiguity) between Section 1.3 and Sections 1.21 and 1.22, if these sections are marked as not required then there may be conflict between services “included” in Section 1.3. For example, Section 1.3 notes “communications” and “access control”, which would normally be scope relating to Section 1.21 and / or Section 1.22.

Section 1.2 – Mechanical Consulting Engineering Services

RAIC Doc 6, Schedule A, Section 1.2 reads:

“Engage a mechanical engineer for all services related to mechanical systems and their controls including: plumbing and drainage; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; fire protection; process piping and equipment; and other special systems. If the Work involves expansion to, or renovation of, an existing building, services include modifications and upgrades to existing mechanical components and systems.”

Like Section 1.3, consultants should consider all items listed following the word “including” when agreeing scope. The items listed are broad and open to interpretation; clarify the scope in the contract will help to ensure fees are appropriate for the agreed scope of service.

For example, sprinkler design is often a separate assignment from mechanical consulting services and performed by a specialist contractor or fire protection engineer. However, as written, Section 1.3 “fire protection” may be assumed to include sprinkler design.

Reasonable scope and fees:

Clearly describing and agreeing on the scope of work for each sub-consultant supports the consultant(s) to ensure that the fees for services are appropriate and that additional and unanticipated scope is not introduced during the assignment.

Consulting engineering firms providing services described by Sections 1.2, 1.3, 1.21, and 1.22 may wish to develop standard lists (menu) of tasks that can be edited and agreed with the client.

While this bulletin specifically references Sections 1.2, 1.21, 1.22, and 1.3, any consulting engineering firm providing services described in RAIC Doc 6 are encouraged to carefully review the prime agreement when defining their scopes of work to ensure it accurately reflects the scope of the assignment.


Edition Editors: Andrew Tashiro (WSP), Graeme Terris (Pinchin)

Edition Reviewer: Caroline Andrewes, Neil Cumming, Tim Stanley

[1] Architects regulated by the Architectural Institute of BC are required to use standard form contracts approved by the AIBC Council. See:

[2] While the agreement is also the basis for sub-consulting agreements for other engineering disciplines (e.g., structural, geotechnical), the issues identified in this bulletin were not identified for other disciplines. All consulting engineers are encouraged to ensure that agreements clearly define scope.

Share This