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How much can you recover for design deficiencies?

Your first call after securing the rights to a new construction project in the San Francisco Bay area may be to a design firm to get the process started on planning your new build. The designs and specifications that come from its plan will drive much of the work that goes into your project and ultimately affect whether or not you will be able to finish both on time and on budget. Thus, any deficiencies in the design can have devastating consequences. According to, complaints over design deficiencies make up 38 percent of all construction disputes. This begs the question of how should you deal with such disputes? 

Knowing this requires understanding exactly what type of design defect you are dealing with: a design error or a design omission. A design error occurs when an issue is discovered with a certain element of your build that has already been completed or is currently under construction. Fixing it then requires replacing or retrofitting some component of it in order to correct the issue. When this happens, the entire cost of the materials and effort that when into correcting the problem can typically be attributed to the designer. 

Design omissions are elements that are completely left out of the original design plan yet are later discovered and require a change order. In this case, this cost for the change order may not be entirely assigned to the designer given that the element was likely not priced into the original plan. Typically, design professionals are held to covering the cost of around 15 percent of those required to complete the change order. 

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