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Old 01-01-2009, 07:19 PM
1,305 posts, read 2,312,501 times
Reputation: 238


I am considering doing consulting engineering work and am trying to better understand the liability issues with doing this type of work.

Basically, I will be creating engineering drawings that detail the installation of an antenna tower. My calculations will show that the installation meets applicable building codes. I may also design the size of concrete foundation that supports the tower.

My concern is how to mitigate the liability that I will assume for designing the installation. How long will I be liable for issues relating to the tower. The big concern I have is if the tower were to fall and damage property or cause personal injury.

I can purchase errors and omissions insurance (professional liability), however, I will have to purchase it for every year I want coverage. Will that mean I have to keep buying the insurance for every year as long as a tower is standing? That's too expensive and I don't want to commit to a lifetime of buying insurance simply because I did one drawing for someone.

I believe I can limit my liability using contractual language but I believe that will only apply to the other parties that sign the contract. (In other words, my limits of liability probably won't apply to the neighbors of the person I do the job for).

Any thoughts or suggestions? I appreciate the time you took to read this.
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Old 01-05-2009, 12:01 PM
673 posts, read 2,531,188 times
Reputation: 407
Liability seems to flow as follows: client's insurance, your insurance, assets of the entities responsible for the structure. So: 1) you definitely want to do this work as a business (not as a sole proprietor0, 2) you're liable as long as you're in business. As a sole proprietor, it seems you're indefinitely liable. Also, any release signed by the client probably isn't binding on a victim. Your contract could require the client to insure the structure as long as it exists at current reasonable liability levels as a form of protection.

This is an interesting liability scenario. Please let us know what you learn.
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:14 AM
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,478 posts, read 53,735,003 times
Reputation: 24696
Are you a Registered Professional Engineer? Are you a member of the applicable engineering society? Have you asked a lawyer about this?

As far as I know, if you sign the plans you are responsible for their accuracy and completeness. You may also, if the structure ever fails, liable for damages or at least defending your plans in court. Be very careful, some favors come at a very high price.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:34 PM
1,305 posts, read 2,312,501 times
Reputation: 238
Yes, I am a professional engineer. Yes, I am a member of a professional society. No, I haven't talked to a lawyer (I'm going the free avenue to start). No, I'm not doing this as a favor.
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