American Society of Civil Engineers

Emerging Legal Risks for Construction Management Professionals

by Gouranga C. Banik, P.E., (Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Civil Engineering, and Construction at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga.) and Andrea L. May, (Former Graduate Student, School of Architecture, Civil Engineering,and Construction at Southern Polytechnic State University. Now practicing Construction Law at Wasson, Sours & Harris, P.C., in Atlanta.)

Leadership and Management in Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 3, July 2006, pp. 102-109, (doi:

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Document type: Feature Article
Abstract: The typical structure of a construction project contemplates a tripartite system of an architect, general contractor, and subcontractor. Recent changes in the tripartite system utilized in the construction industry through the addition of construction managers have significantly impacted the allocation of risk assumed by the parties involved in a construction project. Additionally, litigation arising from conflicts and questions relating to the parties’ respective duties and responsibilities is on the rise. Not surprisingly, the scope of the construction manager’s legal responsibilities has expanded as architects and engineers attempt to avoid liability by deleting inspection and supervision responsibilities from their contracts. Unfortunately, the courts have not kept up to date with the addition of construction managers and very few decisions actually address legal issues raised by their involvement. This paper will analyze interview responses from construction management firms to identify what they perceive to be the risks and liabilities associated with construction management. Then, specifically, it will look at the increase and decrease of these identified risks for the construction manager. Through a review of relevant case law, this paper will focus on emerging legal issues regarding construction management in an effort to assist construction managers and those providing them with legal counsel to navigate this emerging area of construction law.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Legal factors
Risk management
Construction management