Protecting Your Firm against Liability Claims

by Sidney Robin, (F.ASCE), Pres.; Zenith Land Development Company, Inc. Philadelphia, Pa.,
Joseph R. Syrnick, (A.M.ASCE), Civ. Engrg.; Philadelphia Dept. of Streets, Philadelphia, Pa.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1975, Vol. 45, Issue 6, Pg. 66-69

Document Type: Feature article


In recent years, lawsuits against design professionals have sharply increased. One consulting firm in four now faces a liability claim. Many suits result when the same architect, engineer, and contractor work together as a team on several projects. Becoming cozy with one another, the parties become lax in drawing contracts and specifications. When something goes wrong — wrangling, lawsuit. To minimize liability claims: don't become too familiar with client; don't acquiesce to client pressures to reduce design standards; be skeptical about contractor suggestions for cutting cost; make sure new products have a proven performance record before using; never perform work for a client without a clearly defined, written contract; give your client a realistic appraisal of what can be accomplished with available dollars — don't paint an overly rosy picture; designate someone in your firm to become a quality-control and loss-prevention expert.

Subject Headings: Client relationships | Liability | Claims | Litigation | Consulting services | Contractors and subcontractors | Contracts | Architect/Engineers

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