Who is responsible for a Consultant's mistake?

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7 comments

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    Matthew Dirksen

    Ultimately it'll depend on the agreements between parties. But if the zoning consultant is "your consultant", than it's still "your responsibility" to get it right, or account for it if it's wrong. If the Owner requires you to change everything for free, then you may be forced to go after your consultant to recoup your pain. That's why you hired them - for their professional expertise. And that's why they have PLI. 

    If, however, they were hired by the Owner (like a surveyor), than dealing with mistakes could be a little more complicated. B-101 could help protect the architect a little in this situation, but it could still get messy since it's possible a lawyer could make the case that the architect "knew better".

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    Afxentis Christoforou

    I see, so let's say the Surveyor who was hired by the owner, produced a survey with the wrong property line causing the architect's zoning consultant to produce incorrect zoning diagrams and then causing the architect's drawings to be incorrect. Could the architect and zoning consultant go after that surveyor for compensation?

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    Matthew Dirksen

    No, at least not directly.

    Remember who has an agreement with whom. The surveyor has an agreement with the Owner, not the Architect or the zoning consultant. 

    Just like an Owner filing a grievance with a Contractor for faulty Sub work, it must be thorough the agreement. The zoning consultant would need to lean on the architect to file a claim against the Owner, who it turn would go after their surveyor. 

    If this were to actually happen, I'd wager most parties would attempt to come to an amicable solution asap.  

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    Gang Chen (Edited )

    Similar case actually happened to one of the projects that I worked on. The owner hired a surveyor, and the surveyor missed an easement and a storm drain, we ended up having to work with the structural engineer to come up with a solution to build a site retaining wall and its footing differently. The owner actually paid for the additional service and field visits.

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    Yasmin Fathi (Edited )

    Anything related to consultant's specialized work like codes is consultant's liability. Coordination with consultant's work and drawings and checking their drawings is architect's liability.

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    Afxentis Christoforou

    Thank you all for the comments, this helps clear it up.

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    Gang Chen

    In our case, we were able to convince the owner to pay based on the following information of B101, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Architect:

    “3.1.2…The Architect shall be entitled to rely on the accuracy and completeness of service and information provided by the Owner and the Owner’s consultants…”

    Gang Chen, Author, AIA, LEED AP BD+C (GreenExamEducation.com)

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