Brad Pitt foundation embroiled in lawsuits

In 2007, two years after Hurricane Katrina, actor Brad Pitt founded the Make it Right foundation to rebuild safe and sustainable homes in New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward. Led by GRAFT architects, the organization convened 21 world-renowned architects to design climate-adapted, eco-friendly homes inspired by William McDonough’s Cradle to Cradle principles. Earlier this month, an... Continue Reading →

Climate change considerations for engineers

The World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) consists of national, international , and affiliated engineering societies around the world. The American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) is the U.S. representative to the WFEO. The WFEO’s Standing Committee on Engineering and the Environment (CEE) has completed a new WFEO Model Code of Practice dealing with the... Continue Reading →

Responding as a professional to a natural disaster

During times of emergency, like the recent flooding in South Carolina, design professionals typically have been willing to volunteer their services to assist in protecting public health and safety and to provide immediate services to aid in recovery efforts. Such volunteer efforts, or any immediate response efforts involving a limited scope of services during the... Continue Reading →

Opinions of cost

An insured recently asked us for advice in response to his client’s request for an estimate of construction costs. I suggested that instead of providing a “cost estimate,” which may indicate a commitment that the project can be constructed for that “estimate,” it would be preferable to offer to provide an “opinion of probable costs.” ... Continue Reading →

Does a commitment to comply with building codes change the standard of care?

In most jurisdictions and with most contracts the common law professional standard of care is used to analyze the performance of services by design professionals even though those services are performed in a contractual contest. Most professional service agreements impose various duties and requirements on the professional. As long as express warranties, guarantees, or other... Continue Reading →

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

This past week I reviewed several contracts that all had one thing in common: each one required the design professional to “warrant” that it had “thoroughly familiarized itself with the local conditions under which the Services required under this Agreement are to be performed.” The first problem with this provision is the obligation to provide... Continue Reading →

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