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Reducing Design and Construction Risk Exposure: Documenting Key Decisions

The failure to properly document key decisions during the design and construction process is one of the biggest drivers of non-technical professional liability claims against design and construction firms.

Tim Corbett from SmartRisk, a top-ten risk management consulting firm, presents an A&E On-Demand Webinar covering some of the most common root causes of claims and steps contractors can take to avoid them.

Architects & Engineers Webinar -  Importance of Documenting Key Decisions

Some of the topics covered in this webinar include:

  • The importance of setting a realistic budget, schedule, design and construction contingencies
  • Including detailed provisions for changed conditions, substitution policies, and last-minute Value Engineering in design and construction contracts
  • What to do if an owner asks for incomplete design and construction documents during the bid process
  • Developing a standardized documentation process that includes documenting meetings, phone calls, and decisions
  • Using a change log or change control matrix in conjunction with change order forms

 Reducing Professional Liability for Design and Construction Firms

Providing design and construction firms with strategies to reduce their risk exposure can help result in fewer claims and saving time and money for everyone involved. Here are a few common practices that can lead to increased risk exposure that are discussed in more detail in the webinar: 

  • Underbidding to secure the contract, and then relying on change orders to recoup profit
  • Inadequately defining the change order and Value Engineering processes, and each party’s role and responsibilities in the contract
  • Not carefully coordinating change orders with other design firms or contractors involved in the design and construction process
  • Late substitutions, which require additional research and usually necessitate changes to the design documents

As part of our AdmiralPro Delta® Design coverage, we provide all policyholders with free Risk Management and loss Control Support from  SmartRisk®, a leading, independent risk performance consultancy for design professionals.  The benefits of following SmartRisk recommendations include:

  • Improved performance
  • Higher profitability
  • Greater client satisfaction
  • Fewer legal problems and claims
  • Lower insurance costs

Admiral’s Architects and Engineers Pro Delta® Program is focused on professional liability coverage for design professionals in all disciplines, including geotechnical and structural engineering and construction management.

We offer flexible solutions that include a combination of Professional Liability, Pollution, Technology, and Privacy Breach coverages. Our primary policy form features a broad definition of professional services, flexible deductibles, multi-year extended reporting period options, and the capability to include project-specific excess limits.  We also write standalone project-specific, follow-form excess, and project-specific excess policies.  Our Insureds have access to complimentary risk management services, including contract review and loss prevention assistance, to help our brokers and their clients reduce risk and maximize profit.

If you are a retail insurance broker, locate an Admiral wholesale partner. If you are a wholesaler, contact us about becoming a premier partner.

Products and services described above are provided through various surplus lines insurance company subsidiaries of W. R. Berkley Corporation and offered through licensed surplus lines brokers. Not all products and services may be available in all jurisdictions, and the coverage provided by any insurer is subject to the actual terms and conditions of the policies issued. Surplus lines insurance carriers do not generally participate in state guaranty funds and insureds are therefore not protected by such funds.


Matt Thomas

Written by Matt Thomas

Matt has 18 years of experience in Professional Liability insurance. As Vice President at Admiral Insurance Group, he leads a talented team out of Seattle, WA, responsible for underwriting Professional Liability insurance for the E&S sector. Matt also serves as the product lead for Admiral’s A&E and Contractor's Professional Liability practice. He loves being active with his family in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Topics: architects and engineers, professional liability, smartrisk, A&E


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