AXA XL has announced that its design professional insurance business has updated its online Contract Guide for Design Professionals to help architects, engineers and other design professional clients craft strong contracts.
“Risks affecting the design profession are constantly changing,” said Douglas Strong, chief underwriting officer for AXA XL’s design professional insurance business. “Contracts are such a fundamental tool in helping A/E firms manage their risks. That’s why we want to make sure our clients are well-informed and equipped to prepare contracts that effectively address risk and contract issues and protect them and their businesses.”
The new contract guide contains several updates to existing chapters, including updated guidance on accessibility, confidentiality, hazardous materials and job-site safety. The guide also features three new chapters that address risks associated with:
- Force majeure: What happens if a design firm is unable to deliver services due to an event beyond its control, such as a pandemic or natural disaster? The new guide discusses available remedies in the law and explains why design professionals might want to include a force majeure clause in their contracts
- Lien rights: A mechanic’s lien (otherwise known as builder’s lien or construction lien) is generally available to design professionals, and is one of the most effective instruments to collect unpaid fees. However, lien laws can be complicated, vary widely, and can protect a design professional only if they follow the law exactly and don’t waive lien rights. The new chapter explains how to protect those rights
- Resilient design: Client expectations about design performance are growing as more architects and engineers incorporate resilient design into their regular practices. As a result, more project owners are likely to assert claims alleging their project should have been able to withstand foreseeable extreme weather or other events, AXA XL said. The new chapter explains how to communicate the need for proactive resilient design and the level of protection it may or may not provide. The chapter includes sample contract language that won’t elevate a firm’s standard of care
The contract guide covers more than 100 clauses and practice risk management topics, AXA XL said.