Design Flaws and Architect Professional Liability Insurance

Design Flaws and Architect Professional Liability Insurance

Architects design buildings for a living. The work they are hired to do must meet client specifications, and it must also be done with longevity in mind. Imagine the consequences should a structure suddenly be deemed unsafe just a few years down the road due to some structural defect? Or, just one small miscalculation on the part of the architect could cause a client a costly delay during construction, and it’s with these issues in mind that the importance of having Architect professional liability insurance becomes all too clear.

Professional liability insurance for architects provides coverage in the event your duties as an architect result in a financial loss to your client, or worse, results in injuries to persons within the structure you’ve helped to create. For example, a design flaw in the construction of a building that leads to deaths, or multiple injuries could result in the financial ruin of your firm. Accidents due to faulty construction or a misjudgment in the planning or execution of the project can often have devastating effects.

Making decisions on coverage options

Depending on how you foresee your coverage needs, you may want to weigh your options. Professional liability insurance for architects is usually written on a “claims made” basis, (meaning that coverage applies to the insurance policy in effect when the claim is made against the insured no matter when the injury may have occurred). This coverage, in effect between the retroactive date of the policy and the expiration of the policy, is referred to as “prior acts coverage” because it provides protection to the firm for claims arising out of legal services provided before the effective date of the policy.

The failure of a building or other structure you created could be due to any number of reasons. However, you are responsible for the work of contractors and subcontractors and any defects in materials, or perhaps even worse, a design flaw that creates a safety concern could spell disaster. If you get sued over an error in your work the results will likely be a costly court battle, and at great personal financial loss, unless you have Architect professional liability insurance.