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Seven Tips to Manage Construction Defect Risk

July 10, 2012 — CDJ Staff

Jody T. Wright looks at “seven strategies being used around the country to identify, manage and mitigate your exposures” in a piece in Business Insurance. Wright, Senior VP, Construction Department Manager for Lockton Companies in Denver, gives seven simple steps from the perspective of a insurer.

His first step is to match your project to your insurance. He suggests keeping the riskier projects separate, noting that from an insurer’s point-of-view, “any project that creates a homeowners association carries a higher potential threat of future litigation.” This leads to his second point: you need to “determine what makes your liability insurer nervous.” In other words, talk with your insurer.

His third point suggests that builders look back and see if there is a pattern of problems that have lead to payouts from your insurer. Keep your insurer happier by making sure these areas don’t continue to be problems. Nor should you look for new problems. He suggests against leading in new technologies.

Three more points deal with being careful about with whom you associate. He tells builders to negotiate their contracts, avoiding clauses that would obligate a builder to “indemnify the owner for the negligent work of others that they did not control.” Avoid subcontractors “with loss patterns that might affect your project and reputation.” Builders should identify “owners with a pattern of suing contractors” adding that risk to the cost of the job. They should also identify “the most effective attorneys and expert witnesses” and get them involved before the litigation starts.

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Seven Tips to Manage Construction Defect Risk