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It seems to me that there are already a lot of books that are intended to help design professionals manage their projects, so why another book that primarily addresses how to manage the professional services contract? I found that during my half-century career as a consulting engineer, a lot of what I had to learn was as much about managing my contracts as it was about managing my projects. Unfortunately, there was little available on the subject of managing the contract. There were so many nuances in connection with managing the contract that could only be learned through what was often a painful experience. So, I decided to pass along to other design professionals much of what I have learned. Because the line between contract management and project management is not always clearly defined, there is some overlap in this book.
I am not an attorney and this book does not offer legal advice.
This book can be used in several ways:
As a primer on professional services contracts –The topics are arranged in the chronological order commonly experienced during a project. Accordingly, they can be studied without reference to a specific project in preparation for executing any project from start to finish. The book could also be used as a text to introduce college students to the basics of contracting for professional services.
As a resource during a project – As certain contracting topics come into play during a project, the Table of Contents of the book can be referred to for guidance.
As a source of topics that can be used to create a culture of professional liability issues awareness – By discussing one of the book’s topics at a weekly staff meeting throughout the year, everyone involved in the design process can be sensitized to the importance of correctly dealing with issues that may otherwise result in a professional liability claim.
Managing Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts
I. Introduction to Managing Engineering and Architectural Design Services Contracts
A. Purpose. The purpose of this book is to provide the practicing engineer or architect with information that will improve the efficiency of the design and construction process, reduce the probability of a professional liability claim, and improve the likelihood of the expectations of the parties to the contract being met. The central theme of this book is achieving expectation management. Almost all of the information contained herein is intended to enhance that process. While the book is primarily directed to practitioners that serve as Consultants to Clients with whom they have a contract, the philosophies and procedures contained herein should be beneficial to Clients as well.
B. Definitions. The word “Consultant” is the term that is
used to represent design professionals (engineers and architects) collectively. The word “Client” is the term used to represent the entity that is the Owner of the project that is being designed. The word “contract” refers to a legal document between two or more parties, one of which is a Client and one of which is a Consultant. The contract is the document in which the expectations of both the Client and the Consultant are codified in an effort to give each party a clear understanding as to what can be expected of the other party.
C. Overview. The management of a professional services contract begins with considerations regarding how the Consultant is selected. This is usually followed by developing and negotiating the contract, followed by specific actions that the Consultant can take during the design process. Finally, what the Consultant can do to administer the construction contract in an efficient and beneficial way is addressed.
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