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When a claim is made, professional services are usually called into question.

  1. Did the services meet the standard of care?
  2. Were the services in accordance with state regulatory statutes?
  3. Were all contracted services performed?

Although a design professional’s services may comply with the questions above, if they are not properly documented they may be verifiable under the scrutiny of a claim.

This paper has addressed the architect’s professional services that are often provided on projects, and observations have been put forth as to how these services can be provided and documented effectively. Many of the facets of the documentation may appear to be labor intensive, but if provided consistently and routinely on all projects, the time and effort required is not excessive. Many firms develop a Construction Services Manual to use as a consistent guide for services delivery.

While the digital aspects associated with IPD and the “paperless” project may help expedite and make documentation more flexible and portable, the documentation itself will always be a necessary defense element. Therefore, records of key discussions, instructions, approvals and required documents should be maintained although IPD and a “paperless” project delivery may make it more inconvenient to keep records. Claims against design professionals can be more effectively defended with adequate documentation. Don’t let new delivery processes rob you of necessary documents.

The practitioner is best served to approach construction phase documentation with the same effort and intensity as he or she does documents preparation. A structured process with established project procedures can typically be applied by the architect to all projects with no appreciable increase in required time and effort. Consider these suggestions to develop your CCA protocols as you strive for bulletproof contract administration.

Meanwhile, keep your digital device batteries charged, conform to the standard of care, and while you’re at it, be careful out there.

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