8 Steps to Successful Subconsultant Relationships

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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.

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When Bricks Meet Bytes

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Navigating 21st Century Technology Pitfalls for Construction Professionals

By Dion Cominos and Laila Santana

The intersections and collisions between the worlds of professional services and technology are varied and numerous, affecting virtually every facet of modern business. Nowhere has this effect been more profound than in the field of construction, where electronic tools and innovations have revolutionized the processes of design and construction, resulting in a significant acceleration of both the conceptualization and development of buildings and structures worldwide.

However, this panacea of mechanization and automation comes with a price as a whole new range of liabilities and exposures emerge, presenting novel challenges and dilemmas for the architect and engineer (A&E) practitioner. Let’s explore both the opportunities and hazards that can result from the convergence of technology and construction, and also examine ways in which professionals can steer clear of the perils that can jeopardize the unwary.

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BIM Me Up, Scotty: Navigating Risk in Digital Practice

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By James B. Atkins, FAIA & Andrew D. Mendelson, FAIA

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is rapidly becoming the central platform for design, construction and building operation. But like the transporter of science fiction star adventures, BIM can appear uncertain and mysterious at first glance. A single delivery contract and open access to the architect’s Building Information Model can quickly raise one’s risk alert level to red. Although there has not yet been a proliferation of claims, risk management can be preemptive. This paper addresses issues that can be beneficial in managing risks in digital practice.

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Materials Transparency: The Movement Continues to Gain Traction

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by Andrew W. Mendelson

The term “materials transparency” has quickly grown in importance among building owners, developers, design firms and associations based on the industry’s growing ecological concerns.

Simply put, materials transparency requires manufacturers to disclose the content of building products with the goal of creating more sustainable and healthful indoor environments. To meet these objectives, contractors and construction executives will be seeking additional material information and content reports during the specification and construction submittal process.

However, new trends like this often translate into additional risks. Responsibility, unless clearly contracted, is often not readily apparent when products do not work as advertised or cause unexpected negative impacts.

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Maximizing BIM for Optimal Outcomes on Construction Projects

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By Andrew D. Mendelson

When properly implemented, building information modeling (BIM) has a significant impact on infrastructure by increasing the productivity, efficiency and quality of design and construction projects.

Initially used primarily for vertical building efforts, BIM is now also being frequently used on horizontal projects. In both cases, BIM enables designers and engineers to make earlier informed decisions about the specification of materials as well as identify and resolve conflicts.

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No business is totally safe from cyber attacks

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Why get serious about data security? Because the risk is always there.

APR 25, 2017 | BY STEPHEN L. PORCELLI

Technology has evolved into an essential tool for business. Nearly every firm relies on software, email and the internet to conduct business and deliver services.

Since the internet has become such an integral part of most operations, however, doorways to disaster have opened that never existed before.

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Understanding claims made & reported in professional liability policies

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NOV 14, 2016 | BY WAYNE MARSHALLWALTER J. ADAMS

Most professional liability policies are written on a “claims made and reported basis,” requiring claims to be made and reported during the applicable policy period.

Simple right? Not so fast. Insureds need to remember several extremely important components that must be satisfied to ensure coverage.

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Easy Steps for Achieving Competitive Insurance Rates

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7 rules to follow to improve your professional liability rates

by Robert J. Connor

According to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), nonresidential building spending in 2015 was close to $360 billion, with forecasts estimating this number to hit $390 billion in 2016. The 2016 Dodge Construction Outlook also recently predicted a 9 percent gain in this sector. Multifamily housing, as well as commercial and institutional building, will expect to benefit from this surge, according to Dodge Data & Analytics.

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