Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What is the "Standard of Care" for Architects and Engineers in Designing Projects?

Most contracts between public agencies and architects or engineers designing a public works construction project require that the designer's standard of care "shall be no less than that exercised by architects of similar reputation performing work for projects of a size, scope and complexity similar to this project."  The language defining the standard of care may vary by agency and contract.  

John P. Ahlers
Code compliance is important:  Design contracts also generally require the designer to comply with building and other codes when designing the project.  In a 2014 Florida court case, the court held that the architect was liable for the construction change order costs that were necessary because the architect's design had failed to comply with current fire safety standards on a high school renovation project.  During the design process, the architect disagreed with the opinion of an independent design reviewer that the design did not meet code.  During construction, the building department determined that the plans were not in compliance with the code and required changes to the design and construction.

More information:  Well known and respected Seattle construction attorney John P. Ahlers has written a much more detailed summary of this court case in his August 28, 2014 blog, Architect Held to a Higher Standard of Care.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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