ConstructionPro Week, Volume: 4 - Issue: 7 - 02/20/2015

Should Architects and Engineers Judge Each Other?

By Bruce Jervis


Expert opinion is almost always required to prove professional malpractice on the part of an architect or engineer. It is impossible to show that a defendant failed to meet the standards of care of the profession without establishing those standards and the defendant’s deviation from the standards. A recent case from New Jersey, while not addressing the admissibility of expert opinion at trial, considered the related issue of establishing the merit of a malpractice claim against an architect.

A New Jersey statute requires an affidavit of merit from “an appropriate licensed person” in order to proceed with a malpractice claim against an architect or an engineer. A construction contractor alleged negligent project management by an architect and submitted an affidavit from an engineer. The contractor contended project management was an overlapping area of expertise between the two professions, so an engineer was an appropriate person to express an opinion. The court disagreed, ruling that an affidavit from a “like-licensed” individual was required.

What do you think? Should engineers be allowed to offer opinions against architects, and vice versa? Are there overlapping areas of expertise between the two professions that make this appropriate in some situations?



"Opinions" are just that. It is incumbent on the 'judging authority' to properly 'weight' those opinions, in the final ruling.
Posted by: Rod McAllister - Friday, February 20, 2015 12:08 PM

Posted by: Steve - Friday, February 20, 2015 12:13 PM

The reason that an engineer shall not judge Architect's Work, is the same as they should not seal and sign the architectural drawings.

There are minor overlapping areas, such as " Site Plan" , which has to be clearly identified by the Cities whose responsibility is.
Posted by: G. Afshari - Friday, February 20, 2015 12:17 PM

No... Architects and Engineers are not like minded nor do they practice in the same manner, or with the same goals. Unless the Engineer is also a licensed Architect or visa versa, one should not provide opinion regarding the other. One exception is when the Engineer is a consultant to the Architect, the Architect has a right to expect the Engineer to align his work with the design, intent and goals of the Architect. And, has a right to judge or have opinion on the Engineers work.
Posted by: Gary Guy Wilson - Friday, February 20, 2015 12:21 PM

There are similarities but I would not want a cardio specialist working on my eyes. Both professionals in similar fields but very different in overal training.
Posted by: R W Fiscus - Friday, February 20, 2015 12:32 PM

no but may also depend on the project. gotta wonder why arch was doing project management during construction in first place,other than for the architects office and how that affects the contractor?
Posted by: marc architecture - Friday, February 20, 2015 1:03 PM

No. The disciplines are not the same. I do not know of any engineer (structural, electrical, mechanical, civil) that would consider an architect qualified to judge their on-site duties in a court, although there may be exceptions based on the experience of the individual and scale of the project. The two licenses are different as recognized by the States, as are the licenses of different engineering disciplines from each other.

Posted by: W. Jody Heady, AIA - Friday, February 20, 2015 1:47 PM


WPL Publishing - 5750 Bou Avenue #1712 - Rockville, MD 20852

Phone: (301)765-9525  -  Fax: (301)983-4367

All Content and Design Copyright © 2022 WPL Publishing
About Us

Contact Us

Privacy Policy

My Account