To Hire or Not To Hire?

As the American economy recovers, all eyes are on the construction design industry, a key indicator of the economic climate. Design professionals are preparing for the next phase of recovery in a variety of ways. Not only is there the hope that new projects will begin to come in soon, but there is a backlog of projects which began two or three years ago, but stalled. These projects have been pending in different stages, some abandoned completely, many without funding to continue. Unfreezing from that limbo would mean the potential for immediate work in many design firms, and that work could require additional hands.

In the April issue of CSPE Online, The Official Newsletter of the California Society of Professional Engineers, a/e ProNet Member Reno Caldwell published a column which addresses this exact scenario. For architects, engineers, consultants, and other construction industry professionals, this will bring up one very important question:

To Hire or Not to Hire?


“Raise your hand if you were thinking of hiring someone this time last year.  Had I posed this question to a group of business owners in April 2011, I am confident not too many hands would have gone up.  The following two questions may still be far fetched, but if the tide begins turn and the project light-switch flicks up it’s worth asking both:

  1. When will your firm begin hiring?
  2. Will errors and omissions liability affect your hiring decision?

“You may be thinking that errors and omissions liability has nothing to do with a hiring decision.  Are you sure?  Most business owners understand the importance of balancing risk for the potential reward.   The term ‘reward’ probably seems distant, but many design and engineering firms have multiple projects that have long been in a perpetual ‘waiting’ mode.  Your office could get busy very quickly should these projects become active within a few months of each other, and as new projects come in the door.   Yes, this will be a happy day!

“However, many business owners have depleted their retirement savings in order to keep the lights on and doors open over the past three years.  It will be very tempting to replenish the bank account when the economy improves.   The risk management pendulum could swing quickly from ‘low risk / low reward’ to ‘high reward without considering risk.’  This move would be understandably tempting, but I urge you to take a closer look beforehand.”

To continue reading (and to get some valuable advice) visit IOA Insurance Services’ website for the full text of this article, as well as a downloadable PDF.

About the Author: Reno Caldwell is Vice President of IOA Insurance Services. He operates from the San Francisco Bay Area office in Pleasanton, CA, which he joined in 2007. He has specialized in providing professional liability insurance for design professionals, construction managers, law offices and other professional consultants since 1996. Reno is an affiliate member of the California Society of Professional Engineers; IOA is the exclusive broker of CSPE’s endorsed professional liability insurance program.

a/e ProNet at SDA’s EDSYMPOSIUM12

Longtime design industry advocate, a/e ProNet, announced this week that ProNet President Leslie Pancoast will make a presentation at EDSYMPOSIUM12, the 42nd annual education conference hosted by the Society for Design Administration (SDA), an affiliate of The American Institute of Architects.

For more than 50 years, the SDA has promoted education and best practices for design firm administrative personnel. EDSYMPOSIUM12 will take place from May 2-5 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Portland, Oregon. a/e ProNet will sponsor Saturday’s luncheon, where Pancoast will make a two-fold presentation: Introduction to a/e ProNet and Professional Liability—Coverages, Nuances and Endorsements. SDA members will learn more about a/e ProNet and its active support for the design industry, as well as receive a brief overview of professional liability coverage and the standard endorsements available from most professional liability insurance providers for architects and engineers.

About Leslie Pancoast

Pancoast has specialized in the insurance needs of architects, engineers and other design consultants for more than 20 years. She is a Managing Partner of Insurance Office of America (IOA), one of the largest privately-held insurance agencies in the country. She is also the Branch Manager of IOA’s San Francisco Bay Area office, operating in California as IOA Insurance Services, which she opened in 2005. Pancoast has earned the designations of Commercial Insurance Counselor (CIC) and Registered Professional Liability Underwriter (RPLU). She has been an active board member of a/e ProNet since 2005, and currently serves as the membership’s President.

About a/e ProNet

Established in 1988, a/e ProNet is a national network of specialist brokers. The group focuses on providing educational resources and risk management services to its members’ clients. Its member brokers represent a combined annual professional liability premium volume exceeding $300 million, giving top-tier insurance companies a major incentive to work closely with a/e ProNet to enhance their various a/e programs.

As well, a/e ProNet makes a wide range of Risk Management resources available to all design professionals via their website, including ProNet Practice Notes, Guest Essays, ProNetwork News, Contract Concerns, Typical Coverages, and Frequently Asked Questions.

a/e ProNet is excited about the opportunity to partner with the SDA in order to provide this value-added educational resource to design firm administrative personnel across the country.

Additional information is available about a/e ProNet by visiting their website, following them on Twitter, and/or Liking their Facebook page.

There’s something happening in Vegas, and we’re happy to break the rules and share the event here. Construction began in earnest yesterday on the new 500-foot SkyVue observation wheel across from Mandalay Bay, a project for which ProNet client Wallace Morris Surveying, Inc. is providing engineering services.

More than 100 concrete trucks rumbled in before dawn on Thursday, March 1 to pour the foundation. Per the Las Vegas Sun:

The five-hour process, which began at 2 a.m., sets the stage for building the $200 million project that will change the landscape of the southern Las Vegas Strip.

Developer Howard Bulloch said passersby would see the wheel take shape this summer but the venue won’t open until July 2013.

“We have to build the wheel first before we build the retail building below,” he said.

The retail portion will include seven food-court options, five sit-down restaurants and a dozen stores ranging from clothing outfitters to electronics, Bulloch said. Developers declined to identify the establishments but said they would be recognizable names.

A 30-minute ride will take visitors 50 feet higher than Mandalay Bay with views facing north on the Strip.

The construction climate in Las Vegas has been notoriously sketchy since the global economic downturn in 2008, but Bulloch is pledging to see this project through to completion. Certainly, the SkyVue Observation Wheel will be a flashy ornament to the legendary city’s skyline, including 32 gondolas, each seating 24 people, and a 50,000-square-foot LED sign which will project from the wheel’s center. But better still, the wheel will ultimately employ a full-time staff of 500. Click here to see renderings of the envisioned project.

Congratulations, WMS!

Wallace Morris Surveying, Inc. (WMS) is dedicated to delivering professional land surveying services throughout Nevada and Arizona with a highly skilled professional team working together. It is also our mission to exceed your needs by dedicating to you a Professional Land Surveyor with years of surveying experience, respecting your need for timely services and by having the expert you hire be the actual person working on your survey. (Excerpted from the firm’s bio on the WMS website.)