Skip to content
The AIA Trust home

Why is the architect sued when a project goes wrong?

The answer to this question, simply and obviously, is money. If the owner is the party filing suit, it is probably because the project has cost more, is behind schedule, or both. If the suit is filed by a contractor, a subcontractor, or surety, it is probably because the owner is looking to them for money (or in the case of the surety, the surety paid a bond claim and stepped into the owner’s shoes). In the past it was difficult for owners, contractors, and sureties to make a claim against an architect. Two legal doctrines – the economic-loss rule and contractual privity – shielded architects from liability. These defenses were so effective that, only a handful of decades ago, many architects did not carry professional liability insurance. Unfortunately, those protective days are gone, and design professionals now find themselves in court and arbitrations with increasing frequency.

‹‹ back to SUMMARY | top of this page | on to next section