Professional Standard of Care

What is the Professional Standard of Care?

The common law standard of care for performance of design professional (DP) services is generally defined as the ordinary and reasonable care usually exercised by one in that profession, on the same type of project, at the same time and in the same place, under similar circumstances and conditions. Perfect performance is not required by the common law.

Briefings Paper on Standard of Care

Kent Holland’s paper on professional standard of care is included here.  Details include sample contract language.

Chapter on Professional Standard of Care

This chapter was originally published in Risk Management & Contract Guide for Design Professionals, (c) 2006 & 2014; a/e ProNet and J. Kent Holland Jr.

Contract Language Examples

A design or construction contract could address Standard of Care in this way:

Consultant shall perform its services consistent with the professional skill and care ordinarily provided by firms practicing in the same or similar locality under the same or similar circumstances (hereinafter the “Standard of Care”).

Note: If the contract seems to contain language in various clauses that suggest any warranties or guarantees, or words like ,“ensure” or “assure,” consider adding the following:

“Notwithstanding any clause in this Agreement to the contrary, Consultant expressly disclaims all express or implied warranties and guarantees with respect to the performance of professional services.”

Note: If the project owner is insisting on warranties, consider adding the following:

“Warranty of non-professional services. Consultant warrants and guarantees that all Materials and equipment furnished under the Contract Documents shall be new unless otherwise specified, and that all Work will be of the specified quality, free from faults or defects in Materials or workmanship, and in accordance with requirements of the Contract Documents.”