Architect Liability & Defects in Construction

construction defects

The Florida Building Commission, an offshoot of the state’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation, oversees the construction of new properties in the Sunshine State. This organization also sets regulations that architects, engineers, and other contractors must follow when planning construction projects. For example, new buildings must comply with Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires them to include accommodations for people with physical disabilities.

Despite all the regulations involved in major construction projects, sometimes the final products are flawed. When this happens, the owner usually tries to hold someone involved liable, especially the architect. If you’re a business owner, read on to get the answers to frequently asked questions about architects and construction liability. 

Can an Architect Be Held Liable for Defects in Construction?

As any professional services insurance provider can tell you, architects can be held liable for construction defects; however, certain requirements must be met for property owners to put forth successful lawsuits against their architects. For example, if the architect created faulty plans that led to a defective building, he or she is responsible for the problem.

If the architect’s plans were not flawed, the terms of the contract determine whether or not he or she can be held liable for the construction issues. For example, if the contract stipulates that the architect must oversee construction and point out problems, he or she could be sued for negligence if that oversight did not occur.

Who Is Liable for Construction Defects?

When the architect is not liable for construction defects, the responsible party is usually the construction company. The contractors may not have followed the architect’s plans properly, or they may have failed to perform necessary safety inspections. Additionally, the materials manufacturers may be liable if they provided substandard equipment or supplies that are not up to code. For example, if the concrete manufacturer assembled its product incorrectly and the foundation crumbles, that company is liable for the damage. 

Establishing liability in cases such as these is difficult, and sometimes multiple parties are legally responsible for the errors. All experts involved in construction should hold professional services insurance in case they find themselves facing liability charges.

How Can Architects Avoid Liability Charges?

First, architects should read their contracts thoroughly. How often does the property owner want them to be on the site, and what are their responsibilities? Once architects understand their duties, they must be careful to follow them exactly to avoid negligence charges.

Documentation is also critical in avoiding liability charges. When architects notice issues in their plans’ execution, they must notify the project supervisor in writing, preferably through an email so that they have proof. They should also record all the times that they visit a construction site and what happened while they were there.

About The Hilb Group

Deciding what coverage you need and what limits and deductibles make the most sense can be tricky. Founded in 2009, the Hilb Group has been helping clients to make sense of their options and make the smartest choices for their circumstances. Whether you need Warehouse Insurance or any other type of business or personal coverage, we encourage you to contact our friendly, experienced, and capable team today. Call us at (800) 776-3078 for a consultation.