Categorising Remedies, Damages
Expectation damages, reliance damages and restitution.
How to avoid Damages In Architectural Design ?
Assume that an Architect is careless in the design of the footings of a building with the result that it will suffer subsidence. The Architect will be liable to the person with whom the Architect contracted.
The liability will be for damages for breach of express or implied term in the contract to do the design in a reasonably skillful manner. The damages will be the cost of repairs or the diminution in value of the building as a consequence of the defect in the footings.
Understanding Legal Liability for Architects
As industries like architecture, construction and engineering pick up pace again, those directly involved in these sectors are also becoming increasingly exposed to liability. To mitigate your exposure, it is advisable to take out professional indemnity insurance like architects insurance.
Architects work in an industry where their service is governed by law. These laws are there to inform and protect themselves, their clients, their subcontractors and the public at large. Not only do you have a responsibility to know these laws, you also have to react to the fact that, like all laws, they can change frequently and often without much publicity
It is common on commercial construction projects for the owner to hire the architect to perform services during construction, in addition to designing the project. Among other things, the architect’s construction phase services will typically consist of periodic observations and evaluations of the progress of the construction work. An architect may be charged with observing the work to determine whether or not the building is being constructed in accordance with the contract documents, including the drawings the architect has prepared.
When there are defects in the construction, an owner may attempt to hold the architect liable (usually in addition to the contractor) for said defects, even if there are no errors or omissions in the architect’s design or specifications. The theory behind such an assertion is typically that, even if the defect was caused by the contractor, the architect was charged with observing the work and should have called out the contractor’s defect and seen that it was corrected.
How Architects can reduce their liability
Take the time to check your design completely to ensure it works, as failure to do so could lead to problems later on. Time and money spent up front is time and money (and potential litigation) saved later on.
Liability for building design General considerations
Whilst design liability will always depend on the particular facts and circumstances of any situation, the following commentary can be made in relation to the duty to design with reasonable skill and care:
An error of judgement or choosing an incorrect method of construction will not necessarily be a breach of the designer’s duty, particularly if there is conflicting professional opinion.
A designer cannot rely on the test of ‘ordinary competency’ to lower a higher duty arising from particular facts or knowledge.
A designer may be able to rely on the ‘state of the art’ defence, i.e. the standard of care depends on what was expected of the competent designer at the material date (the date of the design). Even pioneering designers have to be prudent.
Designers should take reasonable steps to keep themselves up-to-date with new methods and materials.
The designer is not responsible for elements of the design delegated to other consultants, the contractor or specialist sub-contractors and suppliers, where these parties contract direct with the client. However, the designer will be responsible where there is a delegation of the design function to the designer’s own sub-consultant or sub-contractor.