By Bruce Jervis
Design professionals have long sought to control their liability exposure. The argument has been that their potential liability is disproportionate to the compensation they receive and the role they play on a construction project. They have received a sympathetic hearing in some quarters. In particular, the engineering disciplines have gained increasing acceptance of contractual limitations of liability. However, a recent ruling in California will have to be viewed as a setback.
The California Supreme Court ruled that an architect can be held liable to future homeowners, with whom it had no contract, for the negligent design of residential property. The ruling applies to architects who provide comprehensive design services directly to developers. The court reasoned that future homeowners are necessarily reliant on those architects. The court distinguished a case in which a geotechnical engineer furnished services to a site preparation subcontractor. The third-party commercial property owner was in a position to obtain independent technical input. ... Read more.
Featured in this Week’s Construction Claims Advisor:
- California High Court Expands Architect Liability
- Installer Not Responsible for Damage to Stored Materials
By Steve Rizer
One of the 14 research projects recently receiving funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to improve the energy efficiency of America’s buildings involves a “hybrid energy modeling method” that Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and California Energy Commission (CEC) are developing (ConstructionPro Week/CPW, Aug. 1, 2014, “Several New Technologies Expected to Save Significant Amounts of Energy in Buildings”). But, how will this method work, and in what unique way will it benefit the buildings community? During a recent interview with CPW, Tianzhen Hong, computational research scientist within the Simulation Research Group of LBNL’s Building Technology and Urban Systems Department, provided an in-depth response to this inquiry. ... Read more.
By Steve Rizer
How much change in a construction project is necessary before a contractor enters a cumulative impact condition? While there is no sweeping, hard-and-fast, industry-wide answer to this question, William Ibbs and other researchers have come up with a “rule of thumb” for determining when such a condition is reached -- a condition in which, as Ibbs put it during a WPL Publishing webinar he recently co-presented, “you have so many changes that you cannot really measure the full impacts of each change on a case-by-case, discrete basis.” To read what this rule of thumb is, click here.