Streamline the design-build process with a solid strategy for choosing partners
by Andrew Mendelson FAIA
August 8, 2018
Prime design consultants often have a great deal of project control and leverage. Unfortunately, such responsibilities increase the potential for significant risk. This is especially true if errors or omissions committed by subconsultants cause damage to the client or project. Under such circumstances, the prime will most likely be held liable as if they committed the negligent acts themselves.
Given the risks and responsibilities, it’s surprising how many times prime consultants retain subconsultants without thoroughly vetting their skills and backgrounds. Many even fail to hold written contracts with their subs or only move forward with brief agreement letters and/or the subconsultant’s proposal. But consider this: if problems occur and the prime has no contract with the subconsultant, or if the contract is inadequate or ambiguous, the prime could end up paying for the client’s entire loss.
Another problem is that primes often neglect to require insurance—or an adequate amount—from their subs which places their own deductible and policy limits at risk.
As a result, here are eight steps Berkley Design Professional recommends for helping to prepare against issues before they arise, while also protecting against costly and time-consuming delays.