From conception to execution, architects have the final say on many aspects of the construction process. While the duties of an architect remain paramount to ensuring product delivery, their role has been diminished in recent years. In this two-part series, we will discuss how contractors are taking a risk by taking on the duties of an architect. As you will see, many of these risks can be mitigated with a properly drafted construction contract. For contract drafting, reviewing, and revising, consult with a West Palm construction lawyer from Cotney Construction Law.
The Diminished Role of the Architect
More and more, contractors are taking on the duties that have previously been under the umbrella of an architect. Whether it be cost estimation, preparation of drawings, or discussing the feasibility of a project, construction companies are opting to turn to either in-house staff or a third-party contractor for assistance.
While this shift is due to a number of reasons, it mainly results from a need for practicality. By diminishing the architect’s role, you are removing a costly and time-consuming bottleneck in the design process. The advent of “design-build” project delivery systems that foster collaboration and communication are playing an important part in this shift. But while removing the architect from the equation may seem practical, maybe even necessary, in doing so, you are removing the checks and balances that help to guarantee project success.
Taking on Increased Liability
Although an architect’s role has changed with time, the liability they can incur has not. In the past, an architect would have a direct contract with an owner. But as contractors take on an architect’s responsibilities, their liability on a project expands. Contractors in this position must take certain precautions, such as obtaining liability insurance, in order to protect themselves from claims of negligence or inadequate work. More importantly, contractors must ensure that their liability doesn’t expand beyond the scope of the contract. When the line between contractors and architects begins to blur, a contract drafted by a West Palm construction lawyer may be the difference between reaching project completion and taking the blame for a construction defect.
For more information on how your company can protect itself when taking on design duties, read part two.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.