Cautious Risk Taking

by William Zoino, (F.ASCE), CFO; Goldberg-Zoino Associates,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1989, Vol. 59, Issue 10, Pg. 65-66

Document Type: Feature article


Traditionally, the design engineer could bear virtually unlimited liability for design failure. Now he is less vulnerable. The concept is less than 20 years old, but since the early 70s, limitation of liability clauses have been written into approximately 400,000 engineering contracts. The trend is apparently growing. This is good news for the engineer, who must limit his risk on individual projects simply to stay in business. The one guideline the engineer should follow is: Take calculated risks. He does this by negotiating a fair contract with the owner/client. A fair contract means risk assumed by all parties is relative to the benefits they derive from a project. Clauses limiting liability are increasingly being upheld in courts across the nation and indications are that engineers will continue to negotiate them into their contracts.

Subject Headings: Liability | Risk management | Failure analysis | Negotiation

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