Date Line: 2630-2611 BC, Imhotep designs the Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, Egypt.
According to contemporary thinking, Imhotep was the first Architect to be known by name, in recorded history. He was the designer of the monumental step-pyramid building for the Egyptian pharaoh Djoser including perhaps, the first known use of stone columns to support a building structure. Fast forward approximately 4,680 years. Today Architecture has become so much more than a single building. Present-day Architecture is the art, science, and entrepreneurial business of designing and constructing individual spaces, buildings, neighborhoods, communities, and municipalities to add greater value to societies' future growth and viability.
We as Architects, unlike in some other countries, are entrepreneurs in the United States. In other words, the US government and local Jurisdictions control the spatial envelope within which an Architect can design through zoning and building codes. However, it is completely up to each individual Architect ("Firm") to secure its own design commissions, self-finance its efforts, secure and train its talent, assemble professional specialists to support design processes and being solely responsible to coordinate the entire design/construction team effort,...the "point-of-the-spear".
So, setting aside for the moment the art and science aspects of Architecture, with this entrepreneurial role and responsibility to its Clients, all Architect's face both risks and rewards which are measurable. From my eighty (80) or so design and construction dispute case exposure, serving as an Expert Witness, Mediator and /or Arbitrator, it has been my experience that the chance of the Architect being drawn into such matters is highly probable once there is a Plaintiff Complaint. Sometimes the Architect ("Firm") is initially named or it takes a second round of Complaints to include the Architect but never fear, the Architect may be then, enjoined in a third-party action.
Why is an Architect the target? THERE ARE SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO FAIL!
All of these potential practice liabilities will be measured by the Plaintiff and/or Defendant through a "Reasonable Standard of Care", which will be discussed in Part 2 of this Blog release.
David E. Chase, AIA, NCARB, LEED, GA is an Architect with over 50 years of experience, personally responsible for more than $1 billion of constructed projects, as designer, interior designer, specifier, project manager, Architect-of-record, or Principal-in-charge. Currently practicing Architecture in Florida, Mr. Chase is licensed in 21 states. He has extensive experience in educational, stadium, criminal justice, housing (senior, assisted living, public, multi-family and single detached), health care, commercial, hospitality and retail projects.
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