Public works owners are responsible for delivering complete and correct design documents to contractors prior to accepting bids for public works. Given the nearly infinite ways that errors find their way into project documents, it is not surprising that disputes frequently arise over the adequacy and correctness of design documents. Incomplete and/or defective design documents often give rise to disputes over schedule delays, change orders, and requests for payment for additional work. Such disputes often involve the public owner and contractor pointing the finger of blame at one another. The Los Angeles Design Liability Lawyers of Hunt Ortmann are well-versed in handling disputes over incomplete, incorrect, or otherwise inadequate plans. We have both successfully prosecuted and defended our clients with regard to claims for design liability.
Given the enormous potential for disputes over the adequacy of the design for large public works, a trend has developed of shifting the allocation of risk for the design of public works from the public owners’ architects and engineers, to others by employing “integrated project delivery” methods, such as design-build, where contractors and major subcontractors are involved in project design from early stages. This trend blurs traditional lines of responsibility, and to some extent, relieves public owners of the obligation to deliver complete correct plans before soliciting bids. Use of risk shifting models, while offering substantial savings in avoiding waste and achieving construction efficiency in preparing the project design, often creates additional issues for compliance with laws which require identification of subcontractors at the time bids are submitted, and securing the necessary contractor performance and payment bonds. Hunt Ortmann’s attorneys can help the participants in public works projects to recognize and avoid potential pitfalls during contract negotiations, and protect their rights in the event of a dispute where the resulting design is problematic and busts the schedule and/or budget.
Being faced with design liability issues can be daunting. For help, contact the Los Angeles construction attorneys of Hunt Ortmann for a consultation.