Design professionals who take on construction phase roles are in a precarious position. Their responsibilities and liabilities have been the topic of many court opinions and numerous revisions to standard contract documents. Design professionals argue, persuasively, that their authority and compensation do not justify making them the guarantor of contractor compliance with the design documents. An Illinois appeals court recently agreed.
An architectural services agreement called for the architect to provide “construction observation.” This was defined as at least one site visit per week and attendance at a weekly project meeting to discuss contractor progress and performance. It was ruled that this did not make the architect an “inspector” and the architect was not a guarantor of contractor compliance with the design documents.
The other case in this issue involves a state “anti-indemnification” statute. A utility location service, while not performing actual construction work, was protected by the law. A contract clause calling for blanket indemnification from the company was void and unenforceable.