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When can you sue your architect or engineer?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2023 | Construction Litigation

As a general contractor, you take full responsibility for the outcome of your projects with your clients – but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek redress when someone else gave you bad information.

Whether you have been working on a new construction project that has gone sour or a renovation that ended badly, you need to carefully consider the role that any architect or engineer involved in the project may have played in your problems.

What can cause an architect or engineer to be liable for a construction failure?

Architects and engineers are widely used in construction projects. They may be called upon to design a new ventilation system in an older building, or they may be called upon to design an entire building. You rely on them for your expertise. Unfortunately, here are some of the problems you can encounter when they make mistakes:

  • Design errors: This could be a relatively minor issue, like a window that looks directly at a wall – or one that makes part of the building unusable as intended – like a multi-story building that isn’t designed to withstand the area’s normal winds.
  • Errors of omission: This is when something is simply forgotten. As wild as it sounds, something like the plumbing or bathrooms can actually be overlooked when a building design is drafted.
  • Delays or mistakes caused by inattention: Architects and engineers get busy, and it only takes a small distraction to throw off important calculations – and the error may not get spotted until construction is underway.
  • Missed deadlines and cost overruns: You, your client and the engineer or architect should all be on the same page about the scope of the project, its timeline and the costs, as well as what happens when there’s a change order. When there are miscommunications or unclear expectations, that can leave everybody frustrated and angry.

As a contractor, you have to do everything you can to protect your reputation and your business. When your client is looking to you to make something right and you weren’t the party that created the problem, you need to be proactive about pursuing fair compensation for your losses.