Replacing a Design Firm on a Project

Replacing a Design Firm on a Project

When a design firm is asked to replace the original firm on a project, there are ethical, regulatory, and professional liability concerns that should be addressed. The replacement design firm might find that the use of a design and design documentation might be restricted. The replacement design firm should attempt to limit its
liability so that it is clear that only in the case of its sole negligence is it retaining liability. This should be paired with a provision in which the client agrees to release the replacement firm from any claims related to the earlier services, and indemnify and hold the firm harmless from and against claims, damages, losses, and expenses, including but not limited to attorneys’ fees arising out of the services performed by the former design firm or other consultants to the client.

pexels-photo-3205570If there is no need for an entire redesign, the actual contract for the replacement services should specifically state that the design firm shall:

  • have no responsibility for the components of the project designed by the client’s other consultants;
  • conduct a review of the original professional’s drawings and other instruments of service solely for a general review of consistency with the design concept and stated design parameters;
  • be entitled to rely on the technical sufficiency of the documents already prepared;
  • and not be required to review or verify those computations or designs for compliance with applicable laws, statutes, ordinances, building codes, and rules and  regulations.

In this type of a situation, the original design firm could remain as the designer-of-record.

Speak with your agent at Professional Underwriters about potential insurability issue this situation could create.


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