Cutting Edge White Papers

As a member benefit, the AIA Trust regularly commissions experts to present white papers on cutting edge topics important to architects in managing their risks and running their practices successfully. Reference information regarding state laws, etc. are periodically updated to bring members the most worthwhile resource. Check back frequently for the latest information on topics vital to your practice—and your success.

Undertaking A “Fiduciary Duty”: Crucial Legal & Professional Considerations For Architects

Breach of fiduciary duty suits against design professionals happen. A plaintiff suing on this theory derives psychological and tactical advantage.  Any hint of conflict of interest or fraudulent behavior makes the fiduciary duty claim very dangerous to the architect. The architect designated a “fiduciary” probably failed to protect him or herself from contractual overreaching. This paper outlines some key strategies to enable members to avoid the “fiduciary” label, especially at the contracting stage. Click here to read the report. Click here to read the report.

The Collections-Claim Connection: Getting Paid Without Getting Sued

While money isn't everything, it is the measure and fuel of any business, including a design firm. Payment issues are also often the single greatest warning sign of a project in trouble. Perhaps there is no greater indicator of the correlation between unpaid fees and troubled projects and relationships than the remarkable frequency with which efforts of design professionals to collect unpaid fees through litigation result in even larger responsive counter­ claims from clients alleging professional negligence. This paper tracks financial success as a project-long process, providing analyses and strategies along with forms and check-lists to assist in the process. Click here to read the report.

A Sustainable Standard of Care? Managing Evolving & Innovative Products, Processes & Performance Standards in Design Delivery

The “standard of care” is the prevailing benchmark of professional practice in architecture and design and the threshold of protection under professional liability insurance. Increasing “opportunities of innovation” now put architects in an extremely difficult position, with constant expectations of finding new ways of building projects better, faster, cheaper and greener. What happens to the Standard of Care when no one has undertaken the contemplated action before? This paper outlines some of the principles, processes and basic strategy to enable members to keep pace with the many changes in technology and sustainability that impact their practice at a growing rate. Click here to read the report.

The ABC’s of E-Data

As the sources, formats, and volume of electronic data multiply quickly, important liability issues are raised—including the rules of discovery requirements, the management of electronic information, and handling of Metadata or the hidden data describing a document that can divulge information detrimental to your firm. This paper offers AIA Members steps to help ensure appropriate protocols and minimize risks—while navigating the proliferation of electronic information. Click here to read the report.

Managing the Risks & Embracing the Benefits of Going Green

Design professionals and their clients find their world changing rapidly, especially as it relates to the benefits and risks of sustainability. In order to manage successfully the new laws, the new products, and the new expectations from clients, the AIA Trust offers these tools to AIA Members to help you evaluate the benefits and reduce your risks and suggests members seek competent legal counsel. Click here to read the report.

Risk Management Ideas for Condominium Projects

Condos, one of the fastest growing building types, have higher than normal risk for architects. So that architects who engage in condominium projects take special measures to protect themselves, the Trust offers these tools to evaluate and reduce their risks and suggests members seek competent legal counsel. Click here to read the report.