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Conflicts of Interest in the Design Profession: What You Need to Know

“Rule of Thumb” regarding conflicts of interest-in any place in our world, including the design and construction industry, avoid even the appearance of impropriety. This rule is probably the best and most universal rule....

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EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

Exigent circumstances have been defined as something that requires immediate attention-for instance, preventing the destruction of evidence, or preventing the escape of a fleeing felon, or preventing harm to somebody....

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Client’s Decision to Change Project Design During Construction, Contrary to their A/E’s Professional Judgement

Here is the December 2023 issue of the Building Blocks - A Case Study of the Fox Guarding the Chicken Coop.

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Legalese in Professional Construction Industry Agreements

Legalese contains long, wordy, complicated sentence structures utilizing passive voice and obsolete formalisms, and the usage of Latin, archaic or unnecessarily long words when simpler and clearer language exists. (Even...

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Should an Architect or Professional Engineer Retain a Surveyor & Geotechnical Consultant for their Projects?

It would be very poor risk management if the architect or engineer would agree to their client’s request for this scope of services for their project. Read the entire article in the October Building Blocks Newsletter.

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As-Built Drawings vs. Record Drawings. Does it Matter What We Call Them?

It is not hard to imagine, even with the smallest building, that no construction project is built exactly without any changes from its design. That being said, this risk management article is meant to encompass the...

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A Risk Management Conversation with A.I.

This month Eric O. Pempus, FAIA, Esq., NCARB explores A.I. and his personal experience of having a risk management conversation with Chatbot. With much focus on the safety of A.I. in the news recently, this is a timely...

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Peer Review of Professional Design Firms

This is Part 2 of a two-part series covering the topic of peer review. This month we will cover peer review of professional design firms.

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Exploring the Benefits of Project Peer Review.

This is Part 1 of a two-part series covering the topic of peer review. This month we will cover peer review of projects.

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A DESIGN PROFESSIONAL’S INTERPRETATIONS & DECISIONS RELATING TO THEIR CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTOR’S WORK

The construction phase of a project is where the “rubber meets the road.” An architect/engineer (A/E) has many responsibilities while their project is being built. One of those responsibilities is to observe the work of...

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Expert Witnesses in Design & Construction Disputes

Unfortunately, disputes do arise on design and construction projects. It is not possible to list what circumstances can go wrong. From a legal perspective, the allegations can include breach of an agreement between the...

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Risk Management - How to Manage Your Risk

In the March Building Blocks we take a close look at risk management and how to best manage your risk.

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Indemnification Clauses in Design Professional Agreements - Why or Why Not?

The February 2023 issue of the Building Blocks covers indemnification clauses.

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Project Delivery Methods - What Project Owners and Their Design Professionals Need to Know

Since a selected construction “project delivery method” directly impacts the success of a project, an understanding of which approach is central to design professional services. Read the January Building Blocks ...

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Scope Creep & How It Impacts the Bottom Line in an A/E Practice

The December Building Blocks Newsletter article is "Scope Creep & How It Impacts the Bottom Line in an A/E Practice"

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SPOILAGE OF EVIDENCE IN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY LITIGATION: A DOCUMENT THAT AN ARCHITECT/ENGINEER WISHED THEY DIDN’T HAVE

In their professional practices, architects and engineers (A/E's) generate a tremendous amount of information in the form of various and numerous types of documents. Read the November issue which covers documents...

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Arbitration of a Construction Dispute - A View From a Risk Manager's Desk

In last month’s DesignPro Insurance Group’s risk management article I outlined the course of a construction industry dispute in litigation. In contrast, the dispute track outlined here is for arbitration, as opposed to...

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A VIEW FROM A RISK MANAGER’S DESK – AN ARCHITECT/ENGINEER IN LITIGATION

From time to time, my client architects/ engineers (A/E's) may end up in litigation on one of their design and/or construction projects. The dispute track outlined here is for litigation, as opposed to arbitration or...

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PRO BONO SERVICES: RISK MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS FOR ARCHITECTS & ENGINEERS

The term "pro bono," which is short for pro bono publico, is a Latin term that means "for the public good." Although the term is used in a variety of different contexts to mean “the offering of free services,” it has a...

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RENOVATING, REMODELING OR REBUILDING - RISK MANAGEMENT FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALs

As a company grows, or a residential owner seeks to update their house, a building normally begins to show signs of age. The older building may no longer be energy efficient, it may look worn down, it may no longer meet...

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Supplanting Another Design Professional in the Course of a Project

For our purpose relating to design professionals, “supplanting” defined, means to supersede (another) and to take the place of and serve as a substitute for, especially by reason of a need. Continue reading the June...

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ENGAGING CONSULTANTS FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONAL SERVICES

It is common when providing professional design services that architects and engineers engage consultants to complete and deliver their scope of work to their clients, the project owners. Continue reading

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SAFETY ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (SAP): DESIGN PROFESSIONALS GIVING BACK TO THE PUBLIC

The “Safety Assessment Program,” created by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, was established to provide an efficient and quick evaluation of damaged structures after a disaster. The April issue of...

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THE CITICORP OFFICE TOWER: A CASE STUDY OF HEROES, NO VILLAINS

In the late 1970’s Citicorp began its expansion into global banking, and engaged architect Hugh Stubbins to design its international headquarters. Renowned structural engineer William LeMessurier (pronounced LeMeasure)...

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Design Professionals' Conflicts of Interests

Typically, a conflict of interest occurs when an individual's personal interests–family, friendships, financial, or social factors could compromise a person’s judgment, decisions, or actions. In the February issue of...

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Fiduciary Duty (Oil) & Design Professionals (Water) Don't Mix.

Architects and Engineers (A/Es) have a paramount duty to protect the health, safety and welfare (HSW) of the public and others who use the built environment, which is the fruit of the design professionals’ efforts. Read...

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Affidavit of Merit - Defending Architects & Engineers Against Frivolous Claims

As we wrap this year, our last Building Blocks of 2021 covers the topic of defense against frivolous claims. Please see our December Issue and Happy Holidays!

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Extreme Words - Bad for Architects & Engineers

Why should you avoid extreme words? Why is it detrimental to your firm? These and more questions are answered in the November issue of Building Blocks where the topic of "extreme words" is covered.

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THE “TIME OF THE ESSENCE” PROVISION IN A DESIGN PROFESSIONAL AGREEMENT

The October 2021 Newsletter risk management article focuses on a “time” related topic-“time of the essence.”

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Design without Construction Administration Services & Construction Administration Services without Design

Unfortunately, some project owners may engage an architect or engineer (A/E) to provide design services, but not construction administration. On the other hand, some project owners may engage an A/E for construction...

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Advising a Client (before completion) that the Project will not be Successful.

A professional/ethical dilemma-before the project’s completion, should an engineer or architect advise their client that, despite their best efforts, their design and/or construction will not be as intended? Read the ...

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The "Credit Cases" - A Design Professional Taking Credit for the Work of Another Design Professional

Taking credit of the work of another architect, engineer, landscape architect, or interior designer is probably one of the most offensive act against a fellow design professional. Read my full article in the July Issue...

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Betterment - What is Better About It?

In the June Issue of Building Blocks, the fairness of this contract clause is reviewed.

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Waiver of Consequential Damages: Why it is so Important to Architects & Engineers

In the May Issue of Building Blocks we cover the importance of understanding consequential damages as a design professional.

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CONTRA PROFERENTEM, RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR & FORCE MAJEURE DOCTRINES (Latin for: “Against the Offeror,” “Let the Master Answer” & “Superior)

Latin contractual terms occur in design professional agreements, so it's best to have an understanding of them. Read the April 2021 Building Blocks for more info.

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Fast-Track Scheduling is Not a Project Delivery Method

Fast-Track Scheduling is not working overtime to meet a deadline in order to issue drawings and specifications for contractors to bid for a project. It is a scheduling technique. The March issue of Building Blocks...

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Building Commissioning, Smart Buildings & Green Design

Building commission, a professional service for larger new or renovation projects, assists building owners in determining if their mechanical systems are operating as intended and in conformance with mandated...

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HAZMATS in Renovation Projects - Risk Management Concerns

Hazardous materials are always a concern, so this month we focus on HAZMATS in Renovation Projects.

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WHICH IS THE BETTER CHOICE OF DISPUTE RESOLUTION OPTIONS FOR A DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY CONTROVERSY—LITIGATION, ARBITRATION OR MEDIATION?

There are different schools of thought regarding the choice of dispute resolution of a design and construction industry claim. The following overview is a general comparison of litigation, arbitration and mediation....

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WHAT AN ARCHITECT & ITS ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS SHOULD KNOW ABOUT EACH OTHER’S ETHICS

In DesignPro Insurance Group’s November 2019 Building Block article, we discussed a design firm’s culture and ethical practices. A year later, in this November 2020 Building Block article, we are discussing individual...

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Architect's or Engineer's Certificate & Consent

It is common for architects’ and engineers’ privately funded clients (the Owner) to secure financing from a lender. For the loan closing, which usually occurs around the time of substantial completion of the project,...

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ABANDONED DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS—SUSPENSION & TERMINATION OF DESIGN PROFESSIONAL AGREEMENTS

At a project’s inception, seldom do the parties involved envision how matters would be handled if the professional services agreement would be suspended or come to a premature end. Most projects begin in optimism,...

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Complying with all laws during design and construction.

Complying with all laws seems like a straightforward concept that you would want to observe. As a design professional, there may be some hidden pitfalls in this statement. Continue reading...

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Summary of the Top Ten Risk Management Principles for Design Professionals.

When it comes to managing risk, GET BACK TO THE BASICS. How does your firm stack up when it comes to the Top 10 Risk Management Principles for Design Professionals? Here's a summary of the Top 10 Risk Management...

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DISPUTE & CLAIM HANDLING – A RISK MANAGEMENT TOOL: #10 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS

This is final topic of our series covering the top ten risk management principles for design professionals. The final risk management principle covers Dispute and Claim Handling.

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UTILIZING A CERTIFICATE OF SUBSTANTIAL COMPLETION: #9 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS

This risk management tool in a professional practice plan involves determining the date of “Substantial Completion” of a project-it is a date, when established by the prime professional on a project that carries with it...

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CONSTRUCTION PHASE SERVICES: #8 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS

Construction quality assurance is an important element of a plan that is a final step in a process (and may be best performed by the staff responsible for the design to determine that the design intent is carried out)....

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PRODUCING QUALITY CONTRACT DOCUMENTS – #7 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS

A well-developed and implemented quality assurance plan ensures consistent high-quality service on all projects, and is critical to both project success and maintaining key client relationships. Read the May 2020 issue...

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DEVELOPING A SCOPE OF SERVICE WITH APPROPRIATE COMPENSATION – #6 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS

Professional services are occupations in the sector of the economy requiring special knowledge, skill and training, when exercising judgement, in the arts or sciences. Some professional services require holding licenses...

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CONTRACTS & OWNERSHIP OF THE FIRM’S DOCUMENTS – #5 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES

The fifth topic of the top 10 risk management principles is discussed this month: Contracts & Ownership of the Firm's Documents.

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Will my property and casualty insurance cover losses arising from the COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?

The short and to the point answer is, "It truly depends." Many factors affect whether a loss has coverage under an insurance program, including the type of loss, the type of coverage, and the terms and conditions of the...

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Your Insurance coverage and the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) with a historical perspective.

It has always been the goal of DesignPro Insurance to provide Risk Management and Insurance services that go beyond the sale and service of insurance policies. Businesses and individuals face all types of risks that...

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A “GO/NO GO” POLICY – #4 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS

Please take a moment to read our fourth topic on risk management principles - A "Go/No Go Policy" for design professionals.

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Communication Skills - #3 of the Top 10 Risk Management Principles

Architects and engineers are generally known for their technical and graphic abilities, rather than their communication skills. Nonetheless, effective oral and written communications will benefit a design practice in...

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MENTORING & EDUCATION – #2 OF THE TOP 10 RISK MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FOR DESIGN PROFESSIONALS

Mentor and educate all members of your firm. People are a professional firm’s most important resource. If you fail to grow the next generation of professionals, you are failing to secure your own future and the future...

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#1 of 10 Top Risk Management Principles - A Firm's Culture & Ethical Practices.

Here is the first in a series of ten articles covering the top ten risk management principles. This month the topic is a Firm's Culture & Ethical Practices.

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Top 10 Risk Management Principles For Design Professionals


Written Contracts: Are They Really Necessary?

The September issue of Building Blocks covers the importance written contracts.

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Substantial Completion Date - Is it Important?

Learn how to determine when a project is complete and why the substantial completion date is so important in the August Building Blocks Newsletter.

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Meeting Obligations to Your Client and the Project Owner, Part 2.

Last month we discussed contractor led projects and your responsibilities. Now in the July issue of Building Blocks, we will review your obligations in an architect/engineer led project.

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Building Blocks - June 2019


Professional Liability Insurance For Architects, Engineers and Design Professionals

Professional liability insurance is designed to protect architects, engineers, surveyors, and consultants (also known as design professionals) from potentially costly lawsuits or claims from clients or third parties....

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Building Blocks - May 2019: Design Professional's Personal Liability

The May Issue of the Building Blocks Newsletter covers Design Professional Personal Liability. In the newsletter we tackle various aspects of personal liability such as: The requirements for a design professional to be...

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Building Blocks - April 2019

The subject of the April issue of Building Blocks takes a look at providing pro bono services and Ohio's Good Samaritan law.

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Building Blocks - March 2019

In the March Issue of Building Blocks, Eric covers the topic of Eminent Domain and how it can affect the A&E professional.

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Building Blocks - February 2019

The topic of the February issue of Building Blocks is "Sealing & Stamping Design Professional Documents in Ohio." Take a moment to read the do's and don'ts of using your professional seal on documents.

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Building Blocks - January 2019

The New Year always brings about resolutions. This month Eric discusses the "Top 10 New Years' Resolutions for Design Professionals." Read the January newsletter to find out what the Top 10 Best Practices are and...

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Building Blocks - December 2018

Don't end up being on Santa's naughty list. In the December issue of Building Blocks we discuss how giving or receiving gifts can lead to trouble.

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Building Blocks - November 2018

Do words have power? Yes, they definitely do. Read the November issue of Building Blocks to understand how certain words can impact your contracts.

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Building Blocks - October 2018

The October issue of Building Blocks is now available. The featured article this month covers Warranties & Guarantees Clauses in your agreements.

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Building Blocks - September 2018

The September issue of BUILDING BLOCKS is available. Contractual Defense Protection - A New Solution for the Old "Duty to Defend" Problem is the topic this month.

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Building Blocks - August 2018

This month in Building Blocks, our topic is Reasons to Maintain and Reveal Your Client's Confidential Information. Please take a moment to leave us a comment or ask a question about this article. Also, be sure send in...

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Building Blocks - July 2018

The topic of the July issue of Building Blocks is about ownership of documents - drawings, specifications, reports, and other documents.

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Building Blocks - June 2018

It's June and we are in the heart of "Construction Season". The June issue of Building Blocks is about complying with laws during design and construction. Be sure to mark your calendar for our upcoming CE Programs...

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Building Blocks - May 2018

The May issue of Building Blocks covers RFI's. Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this month's article and let us know if there is a topic you would like covered in a future issue of our newsletter.

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Building Blocks - 2018 - Issue 2 - April

This month in Building Blocks we discuss Site Photography and be sure to check out the Featured Project by Schooley Caldwell Architects.

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Building Blocks - 2018 - Issue 1 - March

Welcome to the first issue of our A&E Newsletter, Building Blocks. This issue of "Building Blocks" covers records retention in Ohio. Please leave a comment about what topics you would like us to cover in future...

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"Complying with all laws" during design and construction

Design professionals increase their liability when agreeing in contracts to comply with all laws. DesignPro's Eric Pempus addresses the issues and reasons for standing firm on negotiating this out of your contract....

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Indemnification: Limit it to Damages Resulting from “Tort” Claims J. Kent Holland, Jr

DesignPro Insurance is a member of a/e pronet which is an association of insurance brokers dedicated to serving the insurance and risk management needs of design professionals. DesignPro works with design professionals...

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Waiver of Subrogation: A valid defense for Architects and Engineers?

This is a great article written for a/e pronet by James Johnson, Esquire and Travis Smuckler, Esquire. DesignPro Insurance is a proud member of a/e pronet. Click on the link below. http://www.aepronet.org/wp-content/...

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Ownership of Documents and Intellectual Property: Are They the Same or How Do They Differ?

DesignPro Insurance Group is the exclusive broker for RLI Insurance in Ohio. Current RLI/DesignPro clients enjoy monthly webinars that are filed for Continuing education. In conjunction with RLI, we are offering a...

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2015 Pronet Scholarship Winners Selected by the AIA

DesignPro Insurance is a proud member of a/epronet. Check out our scholarship winners selected by the AIA using the link below. We are also working to establish a scholarship for engineers through ACEC. http://www....

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Prevailing Party Perils: Attorney’s Fees’ Clauses in Professional Service Contracts

In the world of claims-related contract clauses for design professional agreements, the indemnity and defense clauses get all the attention. However, lurking in the shadow of the indemnity clause is a menacing cousin...

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