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What Are the Risks That Architects Face?

Whether we are talking about copy right, safe design, professional negligence or various other matters, architects from all around face risks in many different areas. It is important for architects and engineers to understand what all these risks are, and to have appropriate strategies and plans in place to manage them.

Copy Right & Intellectual Property:

Some people say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. However, under architectural copy right law, imitation could be a very costly endeavor. Here are some tips to help contractors, owners, architects and engineers protect themselves from architectural copy right disputes.

  • Constructing a substantially similar building without permission may infringe the copy right owner’s rights
  • Making minor changes to plans does not necessarily avoid copy right infringement
  • Innocent infringement is not a defense to copyright infringement
  • The lack of a copy right notice may not prevent a successful suit for copyright infringement
  • Copyright infringement carries the risk of enhanced damages, attorney’s fees, and court costs
  • Architects and designers should timely register their copyrights to obtain enhanced remedies against potential infringers
  • If you are given plans by others, ensure that you have the right to construct copy and/or modify those plans before using them.
  • If you accept plans from others, insist on indemnification for any copyright infringement arising from those plans.
  • The original architect or designer remains the owner of any copyrights in the architectural design, even if the contractor or owner paid for the design
  • Ensure that your insurance covers copy right infringement

Quality Control:

Another area of risk occurs when architects are unable to control important amendments to the design – a situation with could lead to the final project not according to the original vision of the architect yet still bearing the architects name. This could occur when:

  • The original design is thought to be buildable according to the information available to the architect at the time but subsequently has to be modified due to structural or technical advice from engineers.
  • There are suggestions of less costly design alternatives
  • The quality of the as-built product failed to match that of the design because of substandard workman ship during the construction period.

Professional Negligence & Due Diligence:

Architects and engineers could potentially be liable for damages in cases where their designs turn out to be unsafe or not buildable. This could happen when:

  • An engineer or builder discovers that the architects design as it stood was not constructible and was only realized after the principal has already incurred significant expenses in terms of gaining development approvals, entering into arrangements with investors or pre-letting some space.

Jordan Fellner, CIP, CRM, HUB International PROFESSIONAL

HUB International PROFESSIONAL specialists are based in Vancouver. Our longstanding relationships with the best providers in the business allow us to provide you with solutions that make the most sense for you, whatever the size of your design practice.

Original article source: What risks to architects face?

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