from the desk of Nahom Gebre
The standard AIA and EJCDC form documents state that the client will provide surveys and other information to the consultants and that the consultants are entitled to rely on the accuracy of such information. This allows you to describe the scope of services you are providing correctly since you are referencing information on which you are entitled to rely. Client-drafted contracts, however, may change the responsibilities. Recently, we came across the following clause in a contract review:
Client shall furnish surveys describing physical characteristics, legal limitations and utility locations for the site of the Project. However, the Consultant remains fully responsible for verifying the accuracy of this information.
If you agree to this provision, it means that you have taken on the responsibility of verifying the accuracy of the information provided. Depending on the project and the information provided you have to decide whether this is a reasonable responsibility to assume under the circumstances. From a risk management perspective, it is prudent to examine your scope of services and increase the fees you are charging for the increased risks if the client is unwilling to provide you with a right to rely on the information provided.