There are few issues in construction disputes that are more complex than standard of care claims. Architects, engineers, and construction administrators alike have a professional and ethical responsibility to protect public safety. A licensed architect works with a structural engineer, who develops specifications for a project on paper, and those plans should be of sound design and illustrative of a professional level of expertise. The construction administrators are responsible for implementing those plans as specified by the architect or engineer. However, if a claim arises, a forensic project and management consultant firm may be called in to investigate the details of what went wrong.
Standard of Care
The standard of care for architecture, construction, and engineering have basically the same premise—using knowledge, experience, and expertise to complete a project with the degree of care that meets specifications, and prevent harm due to negligence that would result in injurious or financially damaging events. Engineers are responsible for a structure’s design, cost, and the soils report, for example, and must account for any additional loads put on the building, such as equipment and storage for load point items. Every aspect of the construction and its design should be inspected and documented, with the responsible party signing off to verify completion to the proper specifications.
If an engineer or other professional fails to exercise due care, and financial or physical harm is the result of that failure, it could be deemed as professional negligence by a judge or jury should the case go to court. A project and management consultant organization will likely be called in to review the damage and the claimed issues, and verify whether or not that damage is covered under the contracted responsibilities of the engineer. A judge or jury would determine if the engineer fell short and if the damage meets a level of professional negligence.
It is common practice for engineering firms to hire a project and management consultant firm to oversee and assist managers to review contracted details of each project, ensure it is within the realm of expertise of the engineering firm, and analyze any potential issues that could arise. For more information on the standard of care for engineering, please visit our website.