If you are connected with construction at almost any point between the T-square and the tar paper, you will probably be involved in a lawsuit before you retire. In some cases, such an occurrence whether by design or accident, and however unfortunate may hasten your retirement against your will, perhaps, years earlier than you had planned. Looking at the total picture, it was found that 80 percent of all the professional claims came from misunderstandings created by the contractual documents between the owner, design professional, and the contractor; that is, areas of responsibility were not clearly defined. These are basically people problems communication!
A study by a major insurance company that writes professional liability policies showed that twenty-five percent of all the claims filed were filed because the claimant alleged that the design or construction professional was negligent. Twenty percent of the claims were related to site surveys, grades, elevations, soil investigations. Fifteen percent were related to the selection of materials. Ten percent were suits filed by the contractor against the architect or engineer with respect to costs, estimates, specifications, supervisory details. Ten percent were third-party liability claims or workman's compensation claims. Water-penetration problems and roofing failures, taken together, were the number one claim against construction industry professionals.
The late Thomas H. McKaig cites ignorance, greed, and carelessness as three essential underlying causes of building failures. Let us consider negligence as well. After all, we say we are concerned with the making of structures that work. To make the structures work, we must also work, to be accountable not only to construction law, but to the laws of construction, and other laws of structural behavior.