Bryan Hale, Esq.
Once an owner declares a contractor in default of a construction contract and the contractor denies fault, litigation is nearly certain. More often than not, the ensuing litigation involves every party to the construction project, including the project architect.
The legal theories underpinning the architect’s alleged liability vary depending on who is making the claim, the existence of a contractual relationship, and the foreseeability of the harm alleged. A recent trend has courts permitting claims against architects to proceed based on negligence and contract law once universally unavailable.
The purpose of this paper is to help architects understand the variables, including the parties likely to sue the architect, the claims likely to be made by particular parties, the stages of a construction project most likely to foster disputes, and the legal defenses available to the architect. Architects will gain a better understanding of defensive measures that they can employ in their practices and their contracts to lessen risk, avoid liability, and limit exposure.