New Study Shows Design to be Safer, Faster
Anyone who has felt the frustration that accompanies battling traffic to drive to work can smile at this news—engineers are working on making your drive faster and safer. One possible solution is something called a “superstreet” traffic design. The superstreet design re-routes any driver looking to make a left-hand turn or trying to cross a thoroughfare, funneling them to the right before they make a quick U-turn around a broad median.
The next version of the LEED Rating System is under development, with the first Public Comment Period having closed on January 19. According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), over 5000 comments were received from LEED stakeholders. Revisions to the rating system language will be made by staff and LEED committees based on these comments. The second Public Comment Period is expected to begin in July 2011.
From the desk of Nahom Gebre
- The client acknowledges the documents are project-specific and are not intended for reuse on other projects.
- That any reuse by the client without the involvement of the design professional will be at the client’s sole risk.
- The client agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold the design professional harmless from any claims brought against them arising out of the reuse.
- The design professional has the right to reuse standard details of the contract documents.
From the Desk of Judy Mendoza
Occasionally, clients ask design professionals to have their professional liability policy endorsed to specifically insure contractual liability. This would provide coverage for the risks a design professional assumes in a professional services agreement.
Clients often ask for contractual liability coverage from design professionals because such coverage is found under a contractor’s CGL policy. Such a request is problematic, however, because a contractor’s CGL policy provides broad form coverage for contractual liability, due to the contractor’s broad risk exposure. Conversely, the professional liability policy provides a limited form of contractual liability coverage because a design professional’s risk exposure is limited to professional negligence.
The Schinnerer and CNA professional liability policy automatically includes a limited form contractual liability coverage that provides coverage to the extent that the liability is predicated on the insured’s negligence in providing professional services. If a request for contractual liability coverage is consistent with the coverage already provided by the policy, a special endorsement is unnecessary. On the other hand, if the contractual promises in the professional services agreement extend beyond what the policy already covers, the design firm may be assuming a business risk that is uninsurable. Examples of uninsurable contractual liabilities include express warranties and guarantees, representations that services will be free from fault and defect, and representations that the project, when finished, will be fit for its intended purpose.
Professional liability coverage is designed to pay on behalf of an insured firm that does not meet the standard of care in fulfilling professional obligations; it is not designed to stand behind all contractual obligations. By law, design professionals are liable for their own negligence as well as for the negligence of those for whom they have assumed vicarious liability (generally, professional consultants). If design professionals agree by contract to accept liability for more than this negligence, they are assuming a business risk that is not covered under the Schinnerer and CNA PL policy.
Engineers in Sweden have found a way to channel the body heat from commuters passing through Stockholm’s Central Station to heat another building located across the street. The technology is not new (using heat exchangers to convert the excess body heat into hot water), but it does present a potentially new way of reducing heating costs. These types of solutions make sense in communities with low winter temperatures and high energy prices. The successful implementation of this technology means that we could future urban environments that are coordinated to take advantage of excess body heat.
Contract language that may exceed coverage
When reviewing professional services agreements, it is important to not only check for issues that are business-related and risk intensive, but also ones that may fall outside the scope of your professional liability coverage. Not all issues will be obvious.
Now that it is 2011, we are adding a new feature to our blog, in addition to continuing to bring you the same type of content we provided in 2010. Our new feature will be written by the risk managers who review contracts for our insured design professionals.
In performing contract reviews, our risk managers often come across interesting provisions—both good and bad. We are going to highlight some of these provisions in a series of entries that will hopefully serve to inform the reader as to the different types of issues that can arise in professional services agreements.
Our next entry will be the first in this contract review series. It will discuss a liquidated damages clause. In the future, be on the lookout for more entries dealing with various unusual contractual provisions.