Sub Consultants Under Prime Contract of Architects
It is often argued if it is a good idea to have sub consultants under the architecture firm of the project? There are two schools of thought on this and your firm has to determine what works best for your business.
Yes have the sub consultants under the architecture firm. This way the architect has more control over the sub consultant’s work. The architect can oversee the work and ask for corrections as needed. This way it can help prevent claims from happening since the sub consultant reports to the architect.
With the sub consultant under the architects agreement the architect then has vicarious liability of the sub consultant. However, there are a few safeguards the architecture firm can do for risk management with regards to the liability. Always keep up to date on the certificates of insurance for the sub consultants and verify that the limits on the subs policies are the same as the architecture firm is required to carry on the contract. Secondly, the architect should not allow a limit of liability in the contract with the sub consultant. Because of the vicarious liability the architecture firm does not want to have a larger liability due to the sub consultants error or omission.
No the sub consultant should not be under the architecture firm. The thought on this is that the architecture firm is not then responsible for the sub consultant because they are not under the architect’s contract. The sub consultant will contract directly with the owner or developer and therefore the architect does not have that liability.
Having the sub consultant under the contract of the architect or not is a business decision for each firm. It may depend on the relationships involved in the project to make that determination. If you do have questions please call or email your Professional Underwriters agent.