Studies in Procurement Management:
Managing to Avoid Claims
IRVING M. FOGEL, P.ENG, FOGEL & ASSOCIATES, INC.
Design professionals are spending more of their time and money—and their insurance carriers’ money—defending themselves against claims being made by owners, contractors, casual passersby, and third-party users, such as passengers in elevators and tenant employees. Usually, the design professional’s exposure to losing when defending against these claims results from something other than technical failure. It results instead from the failure to manage properly. The design professionals fail to manage or administer their efforts properly during the predesign and design process, they fail to manage and administer their work properly during the bidding process, they fail to manage and administer their responsibilities properly during the construction phase, and/or they fail to manage and administer properly the postconstruction or closeout phase of the project.
Design professionals think of themselves as professionals skilled in the application of aesthetic, functional, and scientific principles to achieve pleasing and practical results. They often lose sight of the fact that in the process, they must manage contracts to try to avoid claims and be prepared to defend themselves if and when claims are made against them. A claim or lawsuit resulting from the failure to manage or administer properly is no less grievous than one resulting from a design error. The design professionals must never forget that they are also contract managers—managers of contracts with clients, consultants, and others. The management and administration of the contracts is no less important than the management and administration of and performance of the design and, where