Architects have many important functions on a building site. They design the structure, plan its construction, and supervise the entire project to ensure their client’s vision is built to their specifications in a safe and sturdy manner. When you have so much responsibility on your shoulders you need the backing of an experienced, dedicated professional liability insurance provider. You may be a new firm that believes that your general liability insurance would cover you, but that is not the case. You must have a type of Errors and Omissions coverage that specifically covers your firm in the event that a customer files a professional liability claim that covers errors and omissions when planning or overseeing the building of structures.
New architects mistakenly wait to obtain this business coverage until they are required to do so in order to bid on a high-dollar job. Or, they don’t realize that professional liability claims happen more often than they think. It can also be tempting to believe that your firm is not yet worth much so you don’t have that much to lose. Why risk losing anything when you can find affordable professional liability insurance for your start up?
Mistakes in Construction
As an architect you are considered by many to be the ultimate supervisor on a construction site. Fair or not, a client can try to include you in a liability claim based on a construction mistake. If the contractors on the site overshoot the budget, fail to finish on time, or make a construction mistake, the architect on the project can most certainly be pulled into a suit even if their responsibility was met and the problems that occurred were not the fault of the architect. Defending yourself can cost more than you even realize. Even if the claim is eventually dropped or thrown out, attorneys fees are not always recouped. When you have insurance for this, the insurance company takes the hit by providing the attorney for you.
What can you do to avoid claims in the first place? Well, you can have clearly defined roles on the site. You can also ensure you have a viable contract with language that protects you in some situations. There is no clear-cut way to avoid all liability claims. A dissatisfied client is going to lash out at everyone that holds some share of blame for problems on their project. You can do your job masterfully, but you cannot control every aspect of building on a site. When you carry the right insurance, do your job properly, communicate with your client constantly about any issues, and hold everyone to a high standard you can avoid many problems.
Avoiding claims is the best way to control your architects business insurance costs. When you apply the important advice from your insurance provider hopefully you can avoid misunderstandings or situations in which your client feels they have been damaged. Keeping immaculate records of your dealings with every client is vital to controlling your insurance costs. When you can show that you communicated issues on the site with your client and that they were aware of the problems and the solutions that might result in increased cost or a delayed finish you are helping your insurance company and yourself should a problem arise. You should keep a record of everything, maintain the appropriate amount of professional liability insurance, and do your job the best way you know how. Following that easy advice can help keep your firm in tact, save you a lot of headaches, and keep your clients happy.