What happens when you hire an architect or an engineer to build your dream home, a development of condos you can sell, or some other project, and you’re vastly disappointed with the results? Can you sue that architect or engineer?
The answer to that question depends a lot on whether or not the architect or engineer committed professional negligence.
Every client who hires a professional of any sort — whether it’s a doctor, a lawyer, an architect or an engineer — is contracting for a certain degree of expertise. That’s considered the professional’s standard of care — he or she is expected to at least display the same level of skill and exercise the same level of care that another professional in his or her line of work would have done in the same situation.
How do you find out if your disappointment with the project rises to the level of professional negligence or incompetence?
In some cases, it might be fairly easy to spot negligence or incompetence in architecture or engineering. For example, if you’re building on undeveloped land, you probably expect your architect or engineer to order soil testing and land surveying before building starts. If you find out halfway through the process of building your resort hotel that it’s located several feet over the property line, that’s a disaster. Similarly, a failure to take soils tests could end up causing a building to sink or tilt after it is built because the ground is too soft for the building’s weight without some sort of additional supports being added.
In other cases, you may need to hire a second set of experts to give you their opinion about what was and wasn’t an industry normal. For example, only another architect or engineer can look through the piles of documentation that go along with building something and tell what kind of mistakes were made and who was at fault.
If you suspect that your architect’s or engineer’s professional incompetence or negligence led to your unhappy results, talk promptly to an attorney who handles these sorts of cases. He or she is the right sort of attorney to tackle your unique issues.