01/17/2022

Editor's Notes

Architects are required, by contract and principles of professional due care, to design buildings that comply with applicable building codes. These obligations run to the party that hired the architect— the party with whom there is a contract. What happens, however, when an architect publicly certifies that its design complies with code?

 

The City of Chicago has a “self-certification permit program” in which a licensed architect or structural engineer can certify its drawings. This avoids review by the building department and expedites issuance of building permits. But does it also expand the potential plaintiffs to whom the architect can be held liable? An Illinois appeals court addressed this question.

 

In another case, a dispute on a public construction project was resolved through a settlement agreement. The contractor performed remedial work at its own expense, but when the project owner made final payment it withheld liquidated damages for late completion. The contractor argued this unilateral withholding violated the Louisiana Public Works Act. But did the settlement agreement qualify as a public works contract?

 

The last case in this issue involved the waiver of the applicable statute of limitation in a commercial loan agreement. Could that waiver be enforced by the lender? Or was the waiver void because it violated public policy? The Kansas Supreme Court had to decide.

 

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