Frank Musica

Frank Musica has written 58 posts for Schinnerer Risk Management Blog

Designing for a rise in sea level

As sea levels rise, design firms need to be aware of the relatively new concept of “resilient” buildings. While many firms will incorporate the principles of resilient design into their practices in the coming decade, doing so is not part of today’s standard of care. Resilient design recommendations are in response to studies that address … Continue reading

OSHA penalties are about to soar

As a result of Congressional action last year, the Department of Labor announced that it will raise by 78% the maximum penalties it can impose for violations of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules. The changes affect penalties assessed after Aug. 1, 2016 for violations that occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. The Labor Department … Continue reading

Fit for the intended purpose language rife with liability

Under American law, design professionals are required to exercise reasonable skill and care in their designs, but that normal (and insurable) legal requirement can be modified by an expressed or implied fitness for purpose obligation. Unfortunately, this is an issue we continue to see in our contract reviews for policyholders. Beyond the Standard of Care … Continue reading

Information on state public-private partnerships now available

Yvonne Castillo, formerly the Public Policy Strategist at The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the new head of Schinnerer’s risk management program, recently reported that the AIA, in conjunction with the National Council of Public Private Partnerships and the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), has developed a significant briefing source for information about … Continue reading

Design and construction services not authorized in Cuba

The U.S. Treasury Department has amended the Cuban Assets Control Regulations as of January 27, 2016. The changes are meant to further facilitate authorized travel to Cuba by persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction; certain authorized commerce; and the flow of information to, from, and within Cuba. The existing Cuba embargo remains in place—that can only … Continue reading

Remember registration and insurance if you use drones

As expected, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that anyone who owns a consumer drone weighing between 0.55 pounds and 50 pounds must register it before February 19 or be fined up to $27,500 in civil penalties—or face jail time and $250,000 in criminal penalties. The new registration requirement is part of the FAA’s … Continue reading

EJCDC releases four updated engineering contracts

Last week we posted about new contracts from the AIA. This week we’re focusing on new contracts from EJCDC. Engineers should be aware that the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee (EJCDC) released four updated documents late in 2015. They are: E-560, Standard Form of Agreement Between Engineer and Land Surveyor E-564, Standard Form of Agreement … Continue reading

Check out these new AIA documents

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has released nine new standard contract documents, including a new owner/consultant agreement, the C103–2015, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Consultant without a Predefined Scope of Consultant’s Services, and two accompanying scope of service exhibits. The C103 establishes expectations between an owner and a consultant on a project. … Continue reading

Drone use can put firms at risk beyond their knowledge

The use of drones in the planning, design, and evaluation of the construction of a capital asset continues to evolve. Often, such usage is by inexperienced operators who lack both knowledge of and respect for the legal and practical aspects of drone use. There are many issues professional service firms need to confront if they … Continue reading

Negligent misrepresentation can lead to actionable claims from contractors

Recently, a decision by the Superior Court of Pennsylvania expands a contractor’s ability to plead negligent misrepresentation claims directly against a design professional to evade application of the economic loss rule. This ruling increases the risk of claims against design professionals performing services in Pennsylvania. Courts in many states continue to erode the doctrine that … Continue reading