Record Retention for Architects and Engineers
The first of the year is always a good time to consider what records to keep and what records to let go of. It is best to have a written policy in place at your firm as to what records your firm keeps and for what specific period of time. But it’s not just having the policy in place at your firm, its enforcing the policy and procedures for records retention. There are a few things to consider for retaining records.
How long should your firm keep the records? Be clear as to what amount of time you will keep those records. The time period will depend on what state the project is location and the specific statute of limitations and statute of repose in each state. If you only work in one state it will be easier to determine how long to keep the records. If your firm is working in multiple states or even in other countries be very specific about the record retentions for each state or keep the records for the longest statute.
What records should your firm keep? This will vary from project to project but again have a policy in place as to what records to retain. Also, your firm may want to retain specific portions of the file for longer periods of time than other portions, depending on the project and your policy in place. Some records to retain may be contract files, communications (emails and mail), schedules, certificate of substantial completion, construction documents, submittals and shop drawings.
We are in a world that keeping records has becoming easier due to electronic files. If you do have electronic files make sure you have a good backup system in place for those files. Most important is to have a policy in place for the records retention so that everyone at your firm has and understands what to hang on to. If you have any questions please call or email your Professional Underwriter’s account manager.