The Engineer, Tort Law and Contracts
Background to the Legal Case:
Engineers as well as corporations must comply with various legislations and statutes and regulations in the performance of their responsibilities. They also have duty of care in Tort Law and other applicable laws.
A municipality, as owner, retained an architect to design a new police station. The architect entered into a contract with an engineering firm to perform structural design services in connection with the project.
In performing soils investigations, the engineering firm’s employee engineer assigned to the project examined two shallow test pits and recommended to the architect that proper deep soils tests be taken. However, the architect rejected the engineer’s recommendation, informing the engineer that expensive soils tests were not part of the owner’s budget for the project.
The engineer submitted a “soils report” to the owner on the basis of the superficial examination of the shallow test pits.
Neither the architect nor the engineer indicated to the owner that the engineer had recommended to the architect that a more thorough subsurface investigation be undertaken.
The design of the police station was completed and the building was constructed in accordance with the project drawings and specifications.
Within twelve months of completion of the engineering design service the new police station “settled” very badly on one code and extensive remedial foundation work was necessary to correct the settlement problems.
Upon investigation the reason for the settlement problems, another consulting engineering firm concluded that the design should never have proceeded without the more detailed and thorough subsurface investigation, which the original project engineer had recommended to the architect.
Requirements:
Read the case and review the relevant lecture material.
Write a report that answers the following specific questions:
1) What potential liabilities arise from the preceding set of facts? In identifying the potential liabilities in tort law, explain the application of tort law principles to the facts as given.
2) Indicate the likely outcome to the matter.
3) Are there any precedents in common law that you relied on?
4) Draft an appropriate contract between the Municipality and the Architect to avoid such problems and risks in the future (you may use the suggested
PEO contract template attached).
5) Include References and other sources for your answer
Report Format:
The report should be as succinct as possible, types in 12 point font size, one and a half line spacing, and 2.00 cm margin all around. Paragraphs should be clearly identified either by indentation, or by separation with an extra line.

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