The “standard of care” is the prevailing benchmark of professional practice in architecture and design and the threshold of protection under professional liability insurance. The design professional’s standard of care is generally based on the performance of others characterized as the “reasonable”, “ordinary”, or “average” design professional, and not on internal or personal capabilities. However, what happens when no one has undertaken the contemplated action before?
Increasing “opportunities of innovation” now put architects in an extremely difficult position, with constant expectations of finding new ways of building projects better, faster, cheaper and greener, while at the same time viewing them as professionally and financially responsible if those new methodologies and materials do not succeed to the full extent of anticipated results. New and innovative technologies, tools, and processes represent the next step in defining and managing the standard of care relative to innovation. This paper outlines some of the principles, processes and basic strategy to enable members to keep pace with these changes for their benefit and that of their colleagues, clients, and insurers.