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Architects and Engineers are the design professionals involved in creating building plans and making sure the ground and other structural components can properly support what is being built. When construction defects occur that have to do with the services provided by design professionals Nevada law requires specific procedures be followed in both residential and nonresidential construction defect cases.

Nevada follows the practice of a majority of states that limit the ability of parties to recover under a legal theory of negligence when the only damages claimed are economic losses.

Who Can Make A Claim Against An Architect Or Engineer?

The nature of the loss will determine who can make a claim for damage caused by an architect or engineer.

When the damage from a construction defect caused by a design professional is purely economical – money – the only persons who can recover are those that have a contractual relationship with the architect or engineer.

Nevada follows the economic loss doctrine when it comes to claims against architects and engineers.  The doctrine bars actions in tort – such as negligence – when there has been no personal injury or property damage.

Thus, if cost overruns are caused when the design for a building creates a structure that is too heavy for the soil to bear, the project owner may sue the design professionals for breach of contract but cannot sue for professional negligence.  However, if the building collapses and is destroyed because it’s too heavy for the soil, the owner may make claims against both the architect and engineer for professional negligence resulting in property damage.

How To Make A Construction Defect Claim Against A Design Professional

Construction defect claims against design professionals can be either residential or nonresidential.  Nevada law sets out specific procedures that must be followed in order to bring construction defect claims.

Residential construction – A homeowner who has a construction defect relating to the design of the project must initiate a claim according to Chapter 40 of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS). The process goes like this:

  • Homeowner must give notice to the contractor and may give notice to the design professional
  • Contractor or design professional must be allowed to inspect the defect and any damage and given an opportunity to fix it
  • Contractor or design professional must respond to the notice and indicate whether they will take responsibility for the defect/damage and propose a settlement or whether they deny responsibility for the defect.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the statute requires that they submit to mediation unless the contractor or design professional waives the right to mediation.  If mediation fails to resolve the matter a lawsuit may then be filed.

Non-residential construction – The requirements for actions involving nonresidential construction defect claims against design professionals are found in Chapter 11 of the NRS.  No attempt at settlement needs to be made before a lawsuit is filed but the law requires that the attorney for the claimant do a little preliminary investigation to determine the likelihood that the claim has merit.

At the time the lawsuit is filed, a claimant’s attorney must also submit an affidavit of merit declaring that the attorney has:

  • Reviewed the case
  • Consulted an expert believed to be knowledgeable about the issues
  • Concluded that the lawsuit has a reasonable basis in law and fact

The statute requires that supporting documentation be included with the affidavit.  Failure to comply with the statutory requirements will result in dismissal of the action.

How Architects And Engineers Pay Construction Defect Claims

Like many professionals, architects and engineers typically carry professional liability insurance to cover themselves in the event there are claims for damage resulting from their professional services.  The insurance does not cover intentional actions but generally provides coverage for (1) errors or omissions, (2) failure to perform as promised, and (3) negligence.

What To Do If A Design Professional Caused Your Construction Defect

If you have a construction defect and you believe that you have a claim against a design professional for the defect and resulting damage, you’ll want to consult with an experienced construction defect attorney as soon as possible.

In addition to specific procedures that must be followed, there are set time periods for filing claims and accomplishing the steps going through the claims process.  Working with a skilled advocate assures efficient processing and increases the likelihood of a successful result.

Contact An Architectural Or Engineering Negligence Attorney At Paul Padda Law

At Paul Padda Law, our attorneys have significant experience handling construction defect cases.  These are often complicated cases requiring the selection of appropriate experts that can help make a strong case in your favor.  And If you’re looking to hold an architect or engineer responsible for negligence, you need a knowledgeable and skilled advocate in your corner.  You need to call us today at (702) 366-1888 or get in touch with us through this website. 

Architectural and Engineering Malpractice