Column and Beam

A blog for design and construction professionals.

Category: Limitation of Liability (page 1 of 5)

Potential Claim? Give Your Insurer Notice ASAP.

Like all professionals, a significant expense in your annual budget is for professional liability insurance premiums.  Despite this, many firms often do not make good use of the coverage that they have purchased and paid for or –  even worse – jeopardize that coverage by failing to provide timely notice of potential claims.

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Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Design Professionals

Another new year is here, and if you are like me, you try to make it a better year than the last.  I have been lucky enough to interact with architects and engineers every day for many years now.  While I love helping design professionals, I want to help avoid the stress and expense of disputes.  I have ten ideas for 2018 resolutions that you might consider to make your 2018 a better year.

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What You Need to Know Choice of Law

You’ve seen it in many contracts, it is a contract clause that states something like:

This Contract is governed by South Carolina law.

You might have even debated with your client which state should be inserted into the clause.  Many architect, engineers, contractors – and even some attorneys  – do not understand the implication and importance of a choice of law clause. 

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Subcontractors and Suppliers – Why Should You Send a Notice of Furnishing of Labor/Materials on Your Next Project?

On large construction projects, it is common for significant labor or materials to be supplied by lower-tier subcontractors and material suppliers – that is, entities who do not contract with the general or prime contractor, but instead contract directly with a subcontractor.  Without a direct contractual relationship, the prime contractor may not know the identity of all lower-tier subcontractors or suppliers.  As a result, the prime contractor may lack sufficient information to ensure that lower-tier subcontractors or suppliers have been paid before releasing payment to its subcontractor.  The prime contractor may first learn the identity of lower-tier subcontractors or suppliers when they contact the prime contractor claiming that they have not been paid for their labor or materials or when they file a mechanic’s lien or payment bond claim.

However, remote subcontractors and suppliers may avoid this situation by sending a Notice of Furnishing Labor or Materials to the general contractor before supplying labor or materials.  This provides notice to the prime contractor of the identity of lower-tier subcontractors and may help subcontractors get paid. 

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Protect Your Business – Steps to Avoid Personal Liability

Architects, engineers and other construction professionals, like all business owners, create business entities, like corporations and limited liability companies, to operate their businesses and to shield themselves from personal liability.  The liability shield is a primary benefit of establishing a business entity, because it protects the business owner and the officers and directors of a corporation from personal liability for acts of the company.  However, merely forming a corporation is not necessarily sufficient to avoid personal liability, since it is possible to “pierce the corporate veil” if a business does not maintain a separate identity from its owners or related entities. 

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