You will note on your invoice that we limit our liability to re-performance of the work we have done, or to the value of our invoice, whichever is less. This means that if we have made an error, say making a beam or a post too small, or giving a wrong dimension or quantities or design parameters, and it is built incorrectly for that reason then our liability is limited to correcting our design, not repairing the problem.
At one level this could seem quite unfair, even though it is standard practise in engineering and design circles. There are a few reasons for this :
- The value of the plans may be only a few thousand dollars, while a repair could be many times more, if the designer were to accept this risk, then plans would become unacceptably expensive, checking would become the main activity, spending far more time looking for a very rare mistake than doing the plans in the first place.
- We do hundreds of plans per year, it is not possible to do this volume of work without some errors creeping in. Even in the US space program or at Microsoft, mistakes are found, sometimes with disastrous consequences. These are programs with thousands of engineers and many tiers of checking. Almost all of our errors are very minor, in fact we have never made a serious one that we know about, and they lead to more inconvenience than cost. We cannot guarantee however, that even with the reasonable levels of checking that some problem may occur.
- Design is a complex activity, with many conversations, unclear instructions, misunderstandings, changes . Unless we were only to accept written instructions on every minor point, there would be no way of establishing whether the error was ours or someone elses.
- Everyone needs to realise that building is a collaborative effort. The owner needs to take responsibility that their ideas come across, the builders and contractors need to be skilled and experienced enough to question when something does not look quite right and query it. If a problem is found, ultimately the Owner or the builder will have to bear it.
In some cases a Client may request that we take on a greater liability for a project, up to say a set value. This can be done. We can assign additional designers to the job to check, and take out a supplementary insurance policy to cover the project. If you wish to have such coverage, please tells us the amount and the conditions, and we will provide you with a new quote for the project. It will obviously be much higher.