Risk management

Stay ahead of risk – identify, prevent, control.

Explore the expanding library of risk management and AIA Trust resources, that can help you secure a successful practice:

Firm management

Vaccinations: COVID-19, the Flu, and You – Redux

The Pandemic of 2020 continues to bring numerous challenges to architectural firms worldwide today. Among these challenges, well-considered employment policies are likely to have evolved from first iterations and are likely to continue to evolve well into the future.

Firm management

The Threat is Real: Cyber Attacks Against Architectural Firms

Based on both investigative and legal work, this article examines various scenarios and trends occurring in architectural firms. It also addresses security protocols and legal requirements for the steps firms need to take to prevent and to address unauthorized access to their information systems.

Firm management

Understanding Different Methods of Dispute Resolution

This article is intended to help you and your design firm understand the different dispute resolution processes, which include—among others—dispute review boards, mediation, arbitration, and litigation.

Firm management

Performance bonds and sureties – infrequent troubles

Become familiar with the standard terms of performance bonds and the typical process of a performance bond claim.

Firm management

Ask the RMC: How to Manage Your Firm’s Risk on a Design-Build Project

We asked the six members of the AIA’s Risk Management Committee how they each manage the risk of DB projects within their firms. We’ll break down their responses into legal and practical issues.

Firm management

Ethics of Sustainability

Among many changes to the AIA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct adopted by the AIA’s Board of Directors in 2018 were several targeting sustainability through client engagement.

How To

Series on Contracting with Consultants

These articles by the AIA Risk Management Committee will provide initial guidance on the most essential topics for the architect’s consideration.

Firm management

Videoconferencing Can Raise Professional Liability Exposures

Videoconferencing through various productivity tools has become part of the new normal – but there are increased risks to consider.

Firm management

Pandemic Risks to Your Firm

A massive disruption in the operations of a firm caused by a pandemic—or a government response to a pandemic—could result in performance or business failures. Preparation enhances a company’s image and credibility with employees, clients, colleagues, and the community – and it may also reduce property and business insurance premiums.

Firm management

Indemnification Clauses: All You Need to Know

An indemnification clause is your promise to cover the losses of the other party, usually your client’s, if you cause them harm or cause a third party to sue them. Your Professional Liability Insurance policy will cover you for this risk only when there is proper indemnification language – but not when you agree to language that is excluded from your policy.


Negotiating Contracts: Understand Your Risks

A webinar examines the ten worst provisions for their effect on a firm’s professional liability risk to serve both the client and the public interest.

Firm management

Three ways architects can manage risk when complying with building performance standards

An increasing number of jurisdictions throughout the US are implementing building performance standards (BPS). If a building fails to meet the BPS, architects should consider how to minimize the risk they face.

Firm management

Design Assist vs. Delegated Design–Industry experts release recommended guidance

AIA and AISC released a white paper "Delegated Design, Design Assist, and Informal Involvement – what does it all mean?” providing guidance on these commonly used terms.

Firm management

Architect standard of care relative to site visits during the COVID-19 pandemic

Architecture firms are undoubtedly facing many challenges and decisions as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.

Firm management

Practice considerations: Manage your architecture firm’s risk during COVID-19

This article is intended to be a resource for Architects and Architecture firms in developing a firm-specific response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firm management

You've been sued - now what?

Best practices for design professionals when responding to lawsuits or claims

Firm management

Good citizenry and good business: Minimizing risk when designing for climate change

Industry experts discuss risk management best practices for architects in light of the increase in design risk triggered by climate change.

Firm management

Minimizing risk when designing for climate change: Source of risk

Understand the potential sources of risks before evaluating the different ways in which architects can manage the risks associated with resilient and sustainable design resulting from climate change

Firm management

Minimizing risk when designing for climate change: Evaluating and determining risk

This article takes a closer look into ways to evaluate and determine specific risks associated with climate change, enabling design professionals to make appropriate decisions based upon their risk profile.

Firm management

Minimizing risk when designing for climate change: How to mitigate risk and discuss with your client

This article discusses how design professionals can mitigate some sustainable and resilient design risks.

Firm management

How to manage risk when acting as Initial Decision Maker

Understand the role of the Initial Decision Maker (IDM), and how to manage risk when serving as the IDM.

Firm management

Indiana and North Carolina Pass Anti-Duty-To-Defend Statutes

Indiana and North Carolina Pass Anti-Duty-To-Defend Statutes

Retaining survey or geotechnical consultants directly – what’s the risk?

How To

Virtual Practice Made Real

A new reality of architectural practice is that most architects engage in some form of virtual or online practice because the pace and practicalities of life demand it. The AIA Trust Guide to Virtual Practice outlines the benefits and risks, including regulations, pointers and considerations for this burgeoning approach to architectural practice.

Three ways architects can avoid risk when retaining geotechnical consultants

Floods happen. Are you prepared?

Floods can happen anywhere—more than 20 percent of flood claims come from properties outside the high-risk flood zone, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Architects are impacted by flood through exposures at their offices, homes, and clients’ properties. So it’s important to understand what flood insurance covers—and what it does not cover—and what you need for your situation.

Firm management

Does informed consent apply to the design professional-client relationship?

Case Study

The impact of green design on the standard of care

The paper, Green Design: What Can Go Wrong? explores the potential impact of the green design movement on the architect’s standard of care, outlining new risks and legal theories and exploring case study illustrations, with suggested risk management tools.

Overtime pay: Are you compensating your employees correctly?

The federal pay rules aren’t as clear-cut as you may think, and non-compliance with Department of Labor rules may result in audits, back pay, and fines.

Firm management

So you want to be an international firm…

Before you start working internationally, make sure your firm leaders have considered important elements like safety, regulatory concerns, and taxes and terms.

How To

Cyber Risk: Take it seriously

Architecture firms are experiencing an increasing number of cyber-attacks which call for increased risk management strategies. From conducting a cyber risk assessment to cyber liability insurance coverage to implementing a digital security strategy, firms need to be prepared and equipped to protect their firms.

White Paper

Bulletproof contract administration: Managing risk during construction

Learn how to improve your construction contract administration and minimize risk exposure.

The standard of care: Should I care?

Often the actions of the architect are measured against the applicable “standard of care.” What does that mean, and where did it come from?

Ownership transition resources

A resource page with numerous articles and plans to guide successful transitions

The standard of care: How is it applied?

The function and application of the standard of care is a nuanced, complex, and multi-faceted issue that must be evaluated from different perspectives.

Firm management

Am I breaking the law by providing my employees with comp time?

Providing "comp time" to employees who work a few extra hours may be easy, but it's also against the law. Find out why this violates the Fair Labor Standards Act.

How To

Managing the risks of public-private partnerships

Public-Private Partnerships (or P3s) enable Federal, state, and local governments to perform critical infrastructure or municipal improvements when they otherwise cannot fund them and can offer architects exciting opportunities. However, P3s are not right for every project and may pose significant practice-threatening risks for the architect if they are not adequately managed. The Guide identifies various risks and how to address them.

Risk management resources

Discover how to access the risk management resources developed by the AIA Trust, including webinars, guides, databases and more.

Firm management

What is the architect’s obligation to design to budget?

Find out what obligations architects have to design to a budget, along with how AIA Contract Documents like B101 and B103 approach the process.

White Paper

Guilty until proven innocent: Claims defense documentation

This paper outlines ground rules to establish document protocols to protect the architect - or to help you defend against potential claims and prove your innocence

Firm management

How a contract negotiation can benefit both architect and client

How To

The AIA Trust Professional Liability Insurance Database

The AIA Trust Professional Liability Insurance Database is a searchable directory designed to give AIA members critical information to make decisions.

Firm management

How non-compete and non-solicitation agreements can impact your firm

How does healthcare reform affect you and your firm?

Get answers to your questions about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on architecture firms and employees, from resources developed by The AIA Trust

What "duty to defend" means for design professionals

Why agreeing to defend your client is an unduly burdensome risk on the design professional and should be avoided to the greatest extent possible.

Professional liability insurance decision-making tips

Professional Liability Insurance resources and tips

Federal court sides with architect in payment dispute

This case in Ohio upheld the architect's right to terminate a license to use its drawings and specifications.

How To

Find out how to get started and run your own successful firm

Starting a firm and structuring it for success is a formidable task—find helpful resources, tools, and benefit programs to take you into the future.

The economic loss doctrine: a practical application

Most states recognize some version of the economic loss doctrine, although its application has been under increasing scrutiny in many jurisdictions.

Firm management

Non-disclosure agreements: Loose lips can sink ships

Firm management

Special exemptions: Executives, outside salespersons, and IT staff

Exemptions to the FLSA overtime pay for professional positions and administrative staff, executive leadership, outside salespersons, and computer employees.

Firm management

Public-private partnerships and the design firm

Governmental agencies are using innovative public-private partnership models to incentivize their private-sector partners to deliver much needed local projects.

Financial and retirement planning tools to help plan your future

As a risk management resource, the AIA Trust offers members resources to plan for retirement and make sound financial decisions.

Firm management

Protect yourself: Consider a limitation of liability provision

The value of a comprehensive owner-architect contract

To avoid misunderstandings or even legal disputes, make sure your owner-architect agreements contain all these basic contractual elements.

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