Post –by Gautam Shah
Work of a Professional begins with the mandatory data / prime information provided by a Client. When a professional comes to know of a potential client with job, a specific “schedule of data requirements are presented. Some of the required data items are obvious and easily available, yet it helps to know the sincerity of the client. In the first or first few encounters a professional must check out the capacity of the client to furnish such data. Such demands also make a client aware that a professional has begun the assignment, and the stakes involved in design-making.
In exceptional cases, where the client is invisible and represented by a ‘Statutory Body’, very little data is likely to be available. Here the client is incapable of providing the data, and so it is up to the professional to get the same collected, but with the client’s consent and cost.
A professional may not have the right to use the data collected for, and paid by a client, for any other client or purposes. It always remains property the client. Whenever a client provides a crucial data like sizes, technical requirements, permissions etc. the transfer of information should be formal and well recorded.
In some cases it is only the client that can provide the necessary input, and a professional must make the client aware of the situation. A client should also be made formally aware of data that is being procured by the designer as part of a chargeable service or courtesy. Whenever a chargeable service is provided, a formal pre-approval / consent of the client is necessary.
A professional cannot challenge a client’s right to procure the data from other professionals or sources. As a matter of fact, it is considered a professional decency to make a client aware of own right.
A professional, however, competent will require the services of other professionals. A professional remains responsible for the delivered data where the main professional pays for such data. And here the main professional must exclusively appoint such agencies and receives the output. Often the main professional has no role, or only an advisory role in such appointments. If an external agency is retained by the client to procure data, all the resultant output becomes the exclusive property of the client. The client has a right to make that available, to a professional, only the relevant parts of such information.
Normally the person who pays, receives the output, and has the first and exclusive right to the data. The party that pays for data, also acquires the inherent risks and liabilities.
When a professional, directly hires another professional, the risks and liabilities increase manifold. However, if a client, retains other agencies, the risks and liabilities of the main professional are diluted. Contributions from independent professionals should be favoured, because these provide greater clarity, a counter check, division of responsibilities and dilution of risks.