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Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only the Architect

The risk report, Bulletproof Contract Administration: Managing Risk during Construction, addresses documentation procedures that can be advantageous in managing risk during the construction phase. Although considered cumbersome in this often complex phase of services, the suggestions put forth can serve as valuable defense documentation in the event a claims bullet is fired.

Beginning with the services agreement, this paper addresses the statutes and standards that affect professional design practice and it continues with a review of risk averse documentation for construction phase service activities. Each topic ends with a Discussion Summary in checklist format to guide you.

The objective of the services agreement is to have a contract that protects you and is in accordance with the state legal requirements. Many states require construction phase services by a registered architect, and it is important comply with the statutes that affect your practice. This report addresses the model law adopted by the NCARB and how to determine if and to what extent it affects your project.

The primary emphasis of the report is focused on the seven areas of construction contract administration that are typically required on a project. Beginning with site visits, it addresses submittal review, RFIs, contract changes and payments to the contractor. It ends with substantial and final completion followed by suggestions for tracking and documenting various types of project meetings. The bonus at the end is a Summary & Checklist of the issues addressed to guide you.

So when things get rowdy in the dance hall, and your professional services are called into question, if you have followed the suggestions for protective documentation put forth in this paper, you will have a better chance of proving your innocent participation and dodging the bullets, whether you be the piano player or the architect.

Read the full risk report




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Managing Risk Through Contract Language, one of the professional liability risk management tools available from Victor Insurance Managers Inc., reviews contractual demands by clients that could increase exposure or compromise professional liability insurance coverage and provides commentary and alternatives.