Most people, and most professionals in particular, know what they should do. It is the stuff of aspirational New Year’s Resolutions and Twelve Step Plans. Yet even those readily acknowledged “right principles” often fall to the wayside of neglect and outright avoidance. The mind and heart acknowledge and are willing, but the follow through falters. Nowhere is this more true for the world of design and construction professionals than in the arena of written/unwritten contracts. It may result from the enthusiasm to jump straight into the work, unresolved contract negotiations, or an attitude that the contract just isn’t that important.
For design professionals, finding the right insurance broker can present a challenge. You need someone with ample experience handling the professional liability needs of architects and engineers, and who offers a wealth of value-added services. Only if your broker has a comprehensive understanding of what you and your firm are all about can he or she be of real use to you.
Continued from If You Build It, They Will Sue: Condominium Projects – Part I, an analysis of Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, et al. and its impact on future court decisions.
The closely watched California Supreme Court case of Beacon Residential Community Association v. Skidmore Owings and Merrill et. al. has been decided, and the opinion is bad news for California Architects. The Court held that architects owe a duty of care to future homeowners in the design of residential buildings where the architect is a principal architect on the project, meaning that the architect is not a subordinate to other design professionals
The construction phase is a dynamic time of a project and a design professional’s involvement is significant from a risk management perspective since it allows the design professional the opportunity to provide input during the construction of the project. Since no designs are perfect (and, moreover, are not expected to be perfect to still meet the standard of professional skill and care), all designs require some level of interpretation that is best done by the design professional who created them.
The point of this article is to provide design professionals with a simple, three-step evaluation and corresponding “scoring” model to evaluate and improve the indemnity obligations it receives.