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Legal Advice

New Buildings that Leak- Analyzing the Causes and Pinpointing the Responsibility

Posted: December 1, 2015 | Legal Advice

The First Rainy Season 
Fortunately they don't all leak. Nevertheless architects and contractors are always relieved when their newly completed buildings get through their first rainy season without any problems.

Building leaks are at the top of the list of owner complaints about their new buildings. Rainwater intrusion into a recently completed building is one of the most traumatic of all unpleasant events for a new building owner. It conjures up images of shoddy construction and is often construed as an indicator of other hidden defects that will undoubtedly reveal themselves later. It leaves the owner with the unsatisfactory and uneasy feeling of having been violated.

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The Private Meeting Supplemental to the Preconstruction Jobsite Conference

Posted: November 17, 2015 | Legal Advice

In the last issue of Design Cost Data, we discussed the pre-construction jobsite conference, a meeting before the start of construction where all the construction participants can meet and get to know each other. They can discuss scheduling, project characteristics, and the contract requirements. They can find out what is expected of them and get their questions answered. The object is to improve communications and cooperation among all those involved on the construction site. 
An additional meeting is needed among architect, owner, and contractor to discuss other contractual matters that are of no direct concern to the subcontractors and suppliers. This meeting could be held at the time of signing of the contract documents or at the beginning or end of the preconstruction jobsite conference. Various matters need to be discussed in the interest of avoiding future misunderstandings and mutual distrust. See sidebar for a suggested agenda for this meeting. 

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LEGALLY SPEAKING:  Project Documentation in 2013:  Having a Plan in Place for Success

Posted: November 16, 2015 | Legal Advice

In last month's article, we talked about some of the Lessons on Today's Technology-Driven Construction Project. As we enter the new year, you may make resolutions about how to better organize your projects, better streamline your estimating procedure, or better prepare for disputes. Let's face it, no one likes disputes! However, there are going to be certain rules that must be followed to either prove your claim or defend the lawsuit. In the construction industry, it is important to be familiar with the plans and specifications. However, it is equally important to document events that occur during construction and their impact on the means and methods, schedule and cost on an on-going basis. 

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LEGALLY SPEAKING:  Additional Insured Status: Legal Issues Involving Certificates of Insurance

Posted: November 12, 2015 | Legal Advice

"Certificates of Insurance" are used in the construction industry in every state to reflect the identity of insurance carriers, types of coverage, policy numbers and policy limits. Historically, these Certificates of Insurance have also been used to provide time limits for notices of cancellation requirements to "additional insureds" and certain other information. 

Construction contracts are sometimes prepared by attorneys and contract managers with a goal of requiring certain insurance coverages on ISO forms that, for one reason or another, are no longer available in the market. Other times, the ISO forms require notices of policy cancellation to additional insureds that are not provided for in the insurance policies themselves. Contractors may be contractually required to supply, and, insurance agents are sometimes requested to issue, Certificates of Insurance indicating that the insurance coverages in force coincide with and comply with the insurance coverages required by a given construction contract. Difficulties arise when information contained on a Certificate of Insurance varies from insurance coverage actually provided by the insurance policies themselves. Recent legislation and recent changes in most forms of Certificates of Insurance preclude using a Certificate to provide additional information not in the policy itself or to express an opinion as to coverage.

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Introduction to Field Administration How Can Intern Architects Learn How To Do It?

Posted: November 2, 2015 | Legal Advice

The Traditional System for Controlling and Maintaining Professional Quality of Work
There is no question that all professional work in an architect's office should be performed under the direct control and supervision of qualified architects. (Note 1) All architectural and engineering offices are organized around this elementary principle. How can it be otherwise? Clients have the right to expect that their architect's services will be performed consistent with standards of professional skill and care. (Note 2) 

Fully qualified and experienced architects must direct, supervise, guide, and check the work of the less qualified until they are gradually able to work without such close supervision, control, and guidance. This is the usual method by which recent university graduates can make the transition from the academic phase of their professional education through the practical experience phase and ultimately into professional competence and licensing.

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