Fun, cool, helpful stuff for Architects & Engineers

Blog Love: Schinnerer’s RM Blog

Time to return some Blog Love!

We are big fans of Victor O. Schinnerer’s Risk Management Blog. Several times a month, this long-standing professional liability insurance provider posts brief, timely, helpful articles that are relevant to the design industry. The emphasis is on risk management for design firms, and posts often include links back to pertinent studies and claims scenarios.

A few recent posts:

Building Reuse Provides Environmental Value — 27 August

“Earlier this year the National Trust for Historic Preservation released a report by its Preservation Green Lab that provides the most comprehensive analysis yet of the potential environmental benefits of retrofitting the existing building stock. The study, The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse is available from the organization’s website.

“The report concludes that when comparing buildings of equivalent size and function, building reuse almost always offers environmental savings over demotion and new construction. The report states that it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new energy-efficient building to overcome, through efficient operations, the climate change impacts created by its constriction. For the majority of building types in different climates, the study points to 20 to 30 years of use to offset the initial carbon impacts from construction. The study recognizes that the environmental benefits of reuse are maximized when a minimum of new materials are used; renovation projects that require many new materials can reduce or even negate the benefits of reuse.” Continue reading…

Avoid Contract Language Ambiguities — 6 August

“When reviewing contracts, it is best to have clear, concise language that describes your roles and responsibilities. It is important to remember that the written agreement should reflect actual roles and responsibilities. In a recent contract review, we came across a clause that stated that the engineer will be responsible for the “results” of their services. It was not clear from the clause what results the engineer was responsible for achieving.

“It is reasonable to be responsible for the results of your negligence in the performance of professional services; but the clause simply said that the engineer would be responsible for the “results” of their services without providing further guidance. From a risk management standpoint, it is important to carefully review your client-drafted contracts so that you can clarify these types of ambiguities. Contract drafters often advise that important clauses should be stated once in the contract, and stated very clearly, so that you avoid any ambiguity about your responsibility by addressing the issue more than once.”

Does Design Affect Learning? — 13 July

“Students from Finland routinely place higher than most on international reading, math, and science tests. Could their academic achievements have anything to do with the design of their learning environments? Members of Finland’s education ministry believe so, explaining that the environment and design of the schools in Finland are more supportive of learning than traditional factory-style schools.  A traveling exhibit at the Finnish embassy in D.C. displays the design of seven Finnish schools that were opened within the last 11 years. They exemplify a new look for schools in Finland: a move away from factory-style buildings to modern, spacious campuses with clustered buildings and lots of space for gatherings both indoors and outdoors. The abundance of open spaces allows for easy sight lines for adult supervision (thus potentially combating the type of bullying that has been in the news here in the U.S of late).” Continue reading…

Victor O. Schinnerer has been providing professional liability insurance to Architects, Engineers, and their consultants for more than 55 years. Visit their website to learn more about their excellent professional liability program. And if you have questions on whether the Schinnerer program is right for your firm, contact your local ProNet broker and ask!