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Using Liens on Design-Build Projects

Liens are statutory rights to encumber real property as a method of forcing payment for goods or services provided to the property owner to improve the real property. Liens have nothing to do with professional liability exposure, but we often get questions about whether they can be effective as a way to make sure professional … Continue reading

How does your firm deal with “moonlighting” employees?

If one of your employees is working on a project that you didn’t authorize or know about, can your firm be held liable? Possibly. The issue is whether the actions of the employee can be attributed to the firm. It’s therefore very important for professional service firms to have clear policies on the outside professional … Continue reading

Good processes help manage client requirements

As a professional liability insurer we focus on practice-related risk management activities. Our experience generally has been that the design professionals have the technical expertise to provide the necessary solutions. Once the contract is signed, it is important to review the contract and extract all of the client requirements that are your responsibility. Coordination responsibilities, … Continue reading

If you provide services for free, are you free from liability?

Some design professionals believe that if they receive no fee for their services, their liability is limited or nonexistent. This is not true. The general rule is that a professional performing voluntary service must do so in accordance with the same care and diligence as other professionals providing similar services. The lack of a fee … Continue reading

Does the standard of care change if you are selected because of a special expertise?

Even if you are the preeminent firm in the country in the design of sports stadiums, museums, airports, etc., it would be unwise to agree to provide services as defined in a recently reviewed contract: The Construction Documents and all other services provided by Architect under this Agreement shall be free from defects when measured … Continue reading

New Proving Grounds for Energy Efficiency

New developments in the energy efficiency arena are happening all the time. From new products meant to increase efficiency and lower life-cycle costs to new design paradigms that weave new technologies and procedures with traditional building methods, green design has become commonplace in the market. However, the best-laid plans do not always delivery the best … Continue reading

Reducing carbon emissions through smart design

A recent study performed by the University of Cambridge suggests that the construction industry could reduce its carbon emissions by up to 50 percent by optimizing the design of new buildings to use less steel. Currently, the UK study purports, the design of buildings calls for double the amount of steel and concrete required by … Continue reading

Divining Client Motivation

I keep six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.   –  Rudyard Kipling Risk managers stress client selection as a risk management tool. Realistically, in a competitive, well-developed market, I find that firms generally don’t have the luxury to … Continue reading