As the need for faster and more efficient construction increases, design-build agreements are growing in popularity. Design-build projects may account for 44% of nonresidential building in the United States this year. However, contractors who venture into a “design builder” role may unexpectedly become liable for design errors/omissions that are not covered by their insurance policies. In turn, they may expose themselves to liability and insurance risks that are neither insured nor managed.
In this article, we’ll discuss how the contractor who becomes a design-builder, or performs design-related work through subcontractors, faces potentially unmanaged risk. We will also explore indemnity, warranty, and insurance traps by paying attention to contract language in both traditional design-build and design-assist scenarios.