Most real estate developers know that construction projects are a concerted effort requiring a large team of professionals across a wide range of industries. Engineers, for example, are typically in charge of developing a project’s design and reporting its costs. Depending on their specializations and skillsets, however, some senior engineers may have additional roles, including machinery purveyor, risk management assistant, and construction site manager. With so many responsibilities on their plates, engineers may make mistakes.
If you suspect an engineer’s negligence has compromised your development project or if you are an engineer involved in a professional negligence case, seek legal counsel right away. Contact the construction attorneys with Pursiano Barry Bruce Demetriades Simon LLP to request a free case consultation.
In general, a project’s engineer can be held liable for negligence if: (1) the issue under question can be explained as being caused by a mistake on the part of the engineer, and (2) the engineer had a contractual responsibility to prevent the issue from happening. Some of the most common examples of engineer negligence include the following.
As construction professionals, engineers are expected to abide by their state’s building codes, permits, and zoning laws. These regulations ensure engineers use their knowledge, experience, and expertise in such a way as to prevent harm to others, including worksite employees, neighboring residents, passersby, and future occupants of the project. Failure to uphold any of these requirements could make engineers liable, even in situations when no one is injured.
As contractors, engineers are expected to deliver services on par with the expectations outlined in their contract agreement. Failure on the part of the engineer to complete a task as specified in the agreement and before the deadline can result in costly project setbacks, subpar quality standards, and diminishing returns on investments for developers. In the event their projects’ engineers fail to fulfill their contracts, developers have the option to negotiate or seek retribution by suing the engineer for breach of contract.
A common case for engineer negligence happens when a structure is found to be unsafe for tenants to inhabit. For example, a plumbing contractor may find that parts of a new building’s ground floor are uneven (and, therefore, hazardous) due to a lack of support. Structural weaknesses and design flaws such as this can take several months after the building’s construction to be discovered. Nonetheless, these issues can still serve as grounds for developers to take legal action against the project’s engineer.
Construction disputes can take many forms and extend well beyond a single industry and aspect of a real estate project. Unfortunately for developers, even minor design mistakes by the project’s engineer can escalate into a costly, complex construction claim when not addressed promptly. With so many resources and time at stake, it’s in the best interest of both contractors and developers to seek professional legal counsel and representation sooner rather than later.
If you are involved in a professional negligence case, contact our construction lawyers right away for a no-strings-attached case consultation.