Unless there was a clear out in the contract, I would not suspend
service and would want an attorney's advice even then. There are some good
legal reference books at http://www.nolo.com (as if you didn't have enough
----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark Gilligan" <MarkKGilligan(--nospam--at)compuserve.com>
Sent: Thursday, April 20, 2000 1:29 AM
Subject: RE: When do you suspend service
I assume you have a contract with the Architect or Owner. To prevent the
potential of a conflict of interest, any assistance to the Contractor in
resolving problems should be performed as a part of your agreement with
your client. In this case you would collect through your client.
Ultimately your ability to collect has to do with the support that you will
get from the Owner. The Owner can, if necessary, deduct the cost of your
fees from his payments to the Contractor.
If you fail to provide services that you are contractually required to
provide, no matter how much you are owed, and as a result of your failure
the Contractor or the Owner suffers a loss, you can be liable for the loss.
These losses can be much more than the amount you are owed. I believe
that this is the basis for the good advice from Lynn.
You can tell the Contractor to build it in accordance with the Contract
Documents. While this may be an option legally it may not make the most
sence in all instances. It generally is in your best interest to do what
is reasonably possible to minimize delays and costs. This is because
projects that go really bad tend to take even more of your time, and
because if there is litigation you might find the contractor claiming
that your documents were incomplete or in error, which would involve you in
You should consider many of the stratagies mentioned but always keep in
mind what makes the most sence even though it is unfair. There is a curse
that goes "May you be cursed with a lawsuit where you are in the right".
The point being that it may cost you more in money and disruption to your
life to prove your are right and in the end you may still not be able to
If a project has problems it is often hard to collect all you are due.
Ultimately your best protection is your relationship with your client and
the Quality of the Contractor.
Message text written by INTERNET:seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Although I appreciate the other advice I received, I have always followed
your suggestion. Unfortunately, I don't know a good way to protect myself
during construction since I have no formal contract with the builder.
How do others handle observation, and other requested field changes during
construction when the architect will not include them in his fees?
Do any of you use a separate letter of intent during construction to inform
the owner and contractor of your range of fees when required to perform
On the latest project, the plan checker made me add a statement to the
permit set that due to the complexity of the project, the EOR would make
frequent visits to the job site to coordinate and observe various stages of
construction. Now who pays for this?
Dennis S. Wish PE<