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Design Team Roles And Responsibilities In Florida Construction Projects


Unless you are involved with construction on a design-build delivery process, you will be working with design professionals at various stages throughout the lifecycle of the project. Your team may include different individuals licensed through Florida’s statutes on architecture, interior design, and landscaping, each of whom brings their professional skills in taking the construction concept from idea to reality. Best practices generally require you to get your design team on board as early as possible in the project, and remain diligent as far as communication and interaction going forward.

However, there is much more to the relationship between contractors and design professionals, especially when it comes to liability and disputes. For this reason, it is important to rely on a Florida design professional liability lawyer in dealings with your architects and engineers. An overview of some of the key legal points may also be helpful. 

Roles and Responsibilities of Design Professionals: In short, these members of your team are responsible for presenting a design that corresponds to the property owner’s wishes, is feasible within the parameters of the project, and falls within budget. You may work with two key design professionals in particular:

  1. Architects: These individuals take the construction project idea from the property owner/developer and create a design around it. The end result incorporates both aesthetic qualities and functionality.
  2. Engineers: The primary task of engineers is ensuring that the design is safe – both in creation and construction. Your engineers also play a crucial role with regulatory compliance and building codes. 

Liability for Design Team Mistakes: Errors or omissions by architects and engineers can affect various levels of the construction project, from the general contractor to subs and suppliers. Design professionals may be liable where their mistakes lead to:

  • Incompetent structural design;
  • Inadequate provisions for plumbing or drainage;
  • Noncompatible materials;
  • Insufficient reinforcement of corners, openings, and joists; and
  • Unsafe stress loads on piers and columns. 

Addressing Conflicts: It is preferable to be proactive and prevent disputes in dealings with your design professional team, rather than react when they do occur. Some tips for avoiding conflicts include:

  • Play an active role from the very earliest stages of the design process.
  • Remain available for consultation throughout the project. You will avoid surprises and can tackle challenges right away.
  • Act as a resource when architects and engineers run into issues. You work best and most efficiently when you support each other and attempt to work out mutually acceptable solutions.
  • Cultivate a relationship of trust with your design professionals, which will come naturally when you apply these tips on addressing conflicts.

Reach Out to Our Florida Design Professionals Liability Attorneys

This summary should help you understand the key legal issues involved with the contractor-design professionals relationship, but it also points out the areas where skilled representation is crucial. To learn more about how our Florida construction lawyers can assist with design professional liability and disputes, please contact Linkhorst Law Firm, P.A. We can set up a consultation to review your circumstances and advise you on dealings with architects, engineers, and related professionals.

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