General Terms and Conditions, frequently referred to as “Boilerplate,” defines how the Client and Consultant will relate to each other in a business relationship without regard to a specific project. The following is a critical “Boilerplate” item that if not clearly and equitably stated will likely result in misunderstandings and confrontational situations:
Standard of Care is the name given to a contract provision that establishes the level of perfection required in the Consultant’s deliverables. Common Law, on which obtaining professional design services is based, requires that a Consultant’s performance only be at that level of skill or care ordinarily demonstrated by members of the Consultant’s profession providing design services at the same time and in the same location. Attempts to expand this definition can create a situation for which professional liability insurance may not be obtainable. Language suitable for this provision is also readily available from contract templates prepared by various professional societies.