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RE: Now I am in a REAL jamb!!

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lynn
> I posted a letter the other day that some of you
> responded to me both on the list and privately.  I
> really appreciated the input I received and decided to
> contact the Owner, Building Department and Architect
> about potential problems I had found with the building.
> Now my client has threatened to sue me if he suffers
> any losses due to our reporting these issues to the
> building department.  He say we were hired as a
> consultant, and as such we had no right to inform
> anyone else of our findings, unless there was an
> eminent danger to the life or safety of the occupants.
> Since the building is only now under construction, they
> claim there was no such threat.
> Does anyone have any comments on this?  Is this true?
> Do we only have the right to report errors we find to
> the building official if they are of an immediate life
> safety type.  If our client suffers losses because I
> reported this, am I to be held liable?

I'm wondering what losses your client (the tenant?) might suffer? Presumably
the cost of any repairs would fall on the Owner (or his Engineer). But maybe
there would be delays in occupying the building, or in selecting another
building and starting the TI design work again?

I think I would have contacted the design Engineer first. He might be
receptive - or he might not be - but I think he should have the opportunity
to take corrective action.

You could encourage him to respond quickly by indicating that your client
has a tight schedule, and you need to decide what to do - etc, etc.

If he does take corrective action, your professional duty not to ignore
inadequate designs would be met, and members of the public who will
eventually occupy the building are protected. Would the legal obligation to
advise the authorities still exist if the matter were corrected before any
member of the public was at risk?

Discussing the matter with the design Engineer would also avoid placing him
in the position of finding out about a report of deficiencies from a third

Of course you might also have an obligation to report to your professional
or licensing body - but you would have more time to make the necessary

Peter James

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