We provide three one-hour training sessions on the fundamentals of contracting for professional services and managing professional liability issues.  The first provides in-depth coverage of the many elements of contracting for professional services.  The second is an application of the first one that focuses on managing client expectations. The third addresses the role of the design professional during construction.  The objective of this training is to explain the various elements needed to create an environment in which both the client’s and the design professional’s expectations may be met.

These service are provided without cost or obligation to universities, public agencies, and professional organizations in the Portland/Salem, OR and Vancouver, WA areas.  The training sessions are also available as a lunch time presentation at the offices of architects and engineers for a fee of $150.  Satisfaction is guaranteed in that if the design professional feels that the value of the information received is not worth the fee, the payment is waived.  The fee is also waived for clients under contract with Lowe Consulting, LLC for professional services contracts review.

Available Educational Topics

Managing Professional Services Agreements and Professional Liability

Provides a basic understanding of the important contract terms and recommendations regarding avoiding professional liability claims.

The Cracked Concrete Apron

A case history about a concrete parking apron that cracked badly almost immediately after having been placed.  It is the classic case of a contractor doing many construction activities incorrectly combined with the worst possible atmospheric conditions.  The presentation discusses the design process, the repair process, defending against a claim, followed by lessons learned.

The Galloping Gabions

A case history of a gabion system that failed over time.  The presentation addresses the design, failure investigation, professional liability claim defense and lessons learned.

The Floating Pipe Trick

A case history of a large diameter corrugated metal pipe that floated out of the ground during construction.  The presentation covers cause of flotation, immediate corrective action, defense against professional liability claim, and lessons learned.

Frozen Bearing/Cracked Pier Cap

A case history of a frozen bridge bearing on a very old bridge resulting in cracking of the pier cap on which the bearing rested.  At the time of discovery, design was being performed to seismically retrofit the bridge structure.  Through a very successful coordination effort between ODOT and the design consultant, a temporary repair that would not interfere with and would be beneficial to the permanent seismic retrofit was jointly prepared by ODOT and the consultant.  The presentation provides photographs of the frozen bearing and cracked pier cap, design drawings of the temporary and permanent construction, and a video that shows how the seismic retrofit equipment functions.

Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse

A case history of the walkway collapse in which there were multiple deaths, extensive property destruction, and professional liability claims.  The presentation centers around a contractor requested change, which was not properly evaluated, resulting in different loading configuration being applied to the system supporting the walkway.  During a social event occurring below the walkways, many people were on the walkways to observe the event from above.  The walkway supporting structural system was overloaded causing the collapse.  The presentation addresses the details of the requested change, how the loading was misapplied, the mechanics of the failure, the aftermath, and lessons learned.

Manage Your Projects to Meet Your Client’s Expectations

The common goal at the end of every project should be for the client and design professional to be able to look at each other and both say “Yes, that is exactly what I expected.”  Anything short of that outcome will at best, diminish the likelihood of future assignments from that client, and at worst, possibly result in a professional liability claim.  This presentation will address the various factors that can influence a client’s expectations, while at the same time cover various tools that can improve design efficiency. Specifically, the selection for work process, contract terms, critical elements of every contract, avoiding construction bidding pitfalls, and managing professional liability claims is addressed.

The Role of the Design Professional During Construction

This presentation addresses the various activities in which the design professional is commonly involved. They may include coordination with the Client prior to construction such as bonding requirements and analysis of bids.  Also included will be a discussion of design professional’s staffing, processing of contractor submittals, and preparation of Record Drawings.

Failure Analysis and Professional Liability

While much may be learned by reviewing successful projects, sometimes even more can be learned from those that didn’t go as planned.  The presentation will begin with the basics of failure analysis followed by two such projects with different outcomes; failure of a gabion system intended to provide erosion control and a large diameter corrugated metal pipe and inlets that floated out of the ground during construction. Following the project reviews, the presentation will provide recommendations for specific ways to reduce the probability of having a professional liability claim and, should one occur, how to manage the claim process to minimize the time and expense to all parties and preserve a positive client/consultant relationship.

Managing Professional Liability Claims

This presentation addresses elements required for a claim, common causes of a claim, minimizing the probability of having a claim, typical claims processes, and managing claims. 

Many of these one-hour presentations include a description of a problem, why the problem happened, how the problem was resolved, and lessons learned.  The fee for these presentations is $150 with the same satisfaction guarantee.  The fee is waived for clients under contract with Lowe Consulting, LLC for professional services contracts review, educational institutions, professional societies, or public agencies.

Professional Services Agreement Review

We will review any professional services agreement between a Consultant and Client for potential problems and business risks anticipated during execution.  This review does not include the review of a Prime Agreement or other related documents.  Review of these other documents may be provided as an Additional Service when authorized by the Client.  Potential problems and risks are identified using “Comments” in the margin of the reviewed document.  When appropriate, the comment will include a brief explanation as to why the section is considered a problem or business risk.  Agreement provisions that are not included in the reviewed document but are needed are also listed.  Compensation for this service is a lump sum of $250.00.  This service does not include review of construction contract documents or Prime Agreements, which are also available at a mutually agreed to fee.

Alternative Language

Following the agreement review, the design professional may select which sections of the agreement they choose to pursue with their client.  We will provide alternative language within the client’s agreement in “Track Changes” for the selected sections.  An estimate of  the hours that will be needed to prepare the alternative language will be provided prior to beginning work. Compensation for this service is on an hourly basis, currently $95/hour.

Expedited Process

There will be occasions in which time will not permit using the recommended two-step process described above.  In that case, the steps can be combined.  Compensation for the expedited process will be as mutually agreed at the time.

Additional Services

Mutual agreement regarding scope, schedule, and fee for these services will be obtained at the time.

Interested in any of these services?

Use the contact form below to discuss your needs.

Get In Touch

Lowe Consulting, LLC
John M. Lowe, Jr., P.E.
Happy Valley, OR