Avoiding missteps that cause problems for design professionals

| Jun 14, 2021 | Design Professional Malpractice

In San Francisco, throughout California and across the globe, design professionals are given the opportunity to ply their trade and work on a project. These individuals and companies will undoubtedly have a vision in mind. Generally, that will stem from what the client is asking for when a renovation is planned. However, there can be a gap between what the client believes he or she will be getting when the project is completed and what the designer sketched out and made into reality.

In some situations, that can lead to disagreements and requests to alter the project. In others, it can spark a full-blown legal dispute that can be problematic not just financially, but could damage the designer’s reputation and business in general. Being aware of common mistakes is key, but so too is it important to have legal protection from the outset.

Designers make mistakes for many common reasons

A renovation can be a major project. It is quite lucrative for design professionals if they perform their duties up to the standards set by the client. It can be complicated for design professionals to walk the tightrope of giving a client what he or she wants while also staying true to their vision. Keeping from making common errors can help smooth the process. The client will discuss the goals when first meeting with a design professional. Even if the sides seem to be on the same page, it is imperative to have everything sketched out in detail and discussed to know exactly what the client is seeking. Staying consistent is fundamental and that includes everyone taking part in the project from the designer all the way to the contractors and subcontractors.

Trendiness is a useful guideline, but it might not be wise to adhere to potentially fleeting trends. Efficiency and long-term planning are keys that should not be ignored. For example, as more and more people are looking for eco-friendly design, that should be factored in with how it will look and adapt to a changing world. It is a best-case scenario that the renovation project will go precisely as planned with the finances in order and the time-frame known. In the real world, that does not often come to pass. This should be accounted for and expressed to the client with legal language protecting the designer. A designer is frequently granted some amount of leeway by the client. That can be a positive if it does not extend too far beyond the declared boundaries. This can be a narrow challenge as some clients are displeased with staying too far within the lines and want more innovation.

A fundamental that may be forgotten is having accurate measurements. Even a minor mistake can set a project back weeks or months, cost an exorbitant amount to repair and leave the design professional vulnerable to a legal claim for the cost overruns from the basic mistake. If a client is demanding, the designer must remember to be exact in how the project proceeds. Having the result relatively close to what the client asked for but not exactly what the contract said could be the catalyst for a dispute and violate the terms of the agreement. Finally, by nature, designers are looking to express themselves. That cannot interfere with the project itself as there could be a conflict between what the designer finds aesthetically pleasing and what the client wanted.

Having professional legal protection can help design professionals immensely

Design is based on an artist’s perspective and that makes it a subjective issue. That can invite a clash of ideas and goals. The last thing design professionals want to deal with is a disagreement over how a renovation is supposed to go as it can damage them personally, financially and place their entire business in jeopardy. Having a contract, being protected if there are allegations of wrongdoing, and negotiating through or combating legal claims are all essential parts of being shielded. For authoritative and professional representation, consulting with qualified people is a vital decision from the start.