White Paper Series

Welcome to our collection of white papers on select risk management topics. The purpose of these papers is to provide an in-depth analysis of complicated issues affecting the design and construction industry.

Insuring Technology Risks in a Professional Environment   

Firms have unprecedented opportunities to increase their profitability, level of service, status in the marketplace, and support for their clients and the public good when they recognize how digital practice might change their risk profile and act to properly manage and insure their exposures.

Schinnerer has been working to identify risks, clarify existing coverage, and develop new insurance products to assist firms in their risk management efforts. Highlights include:

  • major types of risk related to technology
  • exposures specifically related to design technology and functions
  • risk management through insurance coverage
  • how does Schinnerer respond?
  • updated with new information in 2013

Navigating Sustainability: The Opportunities and Pitfalls of Designing and Constructing Green Buildings

Many misconceptions about the construction costs, energy performance, and innovative technologies of green buildings persist currently, despite scientific studies demonstrating that sustainable buildings can be constructed at market value, on time, and usually perform better than traditional buildings. This paper analyzes trends in the green building and construction industry as a whole. Green building rating systems, standards, and codes are investigated.

Though sustainable buildings are generally healthier and safer, several aspects of their design and construction contribute to unique additional risks. These risks, best practices for design professionals in order to mitigate them, and relevant contract documents are presented.

Potential Indicators of Risk: Continuing Education, Business Practices, and Professional Licensure

Underwriters and actuaries look at a number of factors in assessing a firm's potential risk, including a firm's size, billings, location, clients, services provided, and project types. This paper details the findings of a study we conducted intended to determine what other factors underwriters can look to when assessing a firm's potential risk: continuing education within a firm, business practices, and professional licensure.

Seismic Design: Prescriptive Codes, Performance-based Design, and the Responsibilities of Structural Engineers

Building codes are an attempt to standardize and monitor the safety practices of designers and constructors alike. This paper weighs the advantages and disadvantages of prescriptive codes vs. performance-based design codes as they relate to seismic design. It also discusses the role of the structural engineer in designing buildings to withstand the effects of an earthquake.

Integrated Project Delivery: Possible Roles, Risks, and Incentives for Structural Engineers

Conceptually, IPD merely means optimal collaboration among all project participants, which leads to project success. From a legal or insurance perspective, IPD means the contractual obligation to collaborate, which involves sharing both risk and reward. Such a concept offers structural engineers a great opportunity for success, but also poses new risks.

Restoring Neglected Assets: Brownfields Reuse and Related Risks for Landscape Architects

Our Brownfields white paper analyzes federal legislation related to brownfields sites and how these project types reflect a unique set of risks, particularly for landscape architects.

Managing the Risks of Your International Practice

Our international practice white paper, part of our white paper series, is an informative discussion of some of the risks firms will face when broadening their practices internationally. From licensing laws, to tax regulations, to contracts, firms need to thoroughly prepare their business plans before beginning work in foreign countries.

New Standard Contracts for Integrated Project Delivery: An Analysis of Structure, Risk, and Insurance

Integrated project delivery (IPD) is an industry-changing process that offers reduced waste and optimized efficiency throughout the design and construction phases of building. These attributes are especially important to clients, but are also favorable to design professionals and contractors because they encourage a reduction in disputes and claims.

Despite the benefits of integrating design with the construction process, IPD has equal challenges, many of which have lasting effects or are yet to be solved.

Sustainable Design Risk Management

Though a truly “green” design is difficult to achieve, it is impossible to argue against the value of sustainability in the design and operation of our built environment. Green design minimizes hazardous environmental consequences and reduces energy use.

Designing for sustainability involves considering environmentally responsible design alternatives consistent with the client’s program, schedule, and budget. This paper will explore some of the legal and insurance implications of the “green” movement, as well as developments in common rating systems.

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