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Liability for basic design on side job..

Liability for basic design on side job..

Liability for basic design on side job..


I am a professional engineer (PE) and have a full time job.  I have been asked to  help a friend of mine with a few projects doing some basic design work on the side.  I would take a basic project to 80% and he would finish and then sign/stamp the drawings.  

My question is as I am not stamping the drawings and his firm's name is on the drawings (covered by his liability insurance), do I also need to worry about liability?  Should I have my own liability insurance to cover this week?  This is not a lot of work.. between 5-10K a year in design fees.  


RE: Liability for basic design on side job..

If you are officially accepting payments for your work you would be liable for your work, whether or not you stamp the drawings.

If your name can be liked to the work, and there is a law suit, your friend will be covered by his insurance, you will be left to defend on your own. Remember, you do not have to be in the wrong to get dragged into a lawsuit. Trying to prove your innocence can also cost you dearly.


Rafiq Bulsara

RE: Liability for basic design on side job..

Rafiq is right.  You have exposure.  You could get your friend to indemnify you for all of your work or you could get minimal insurance.

RE: Liability for basic design on side job..

I remember asking a lawyer once regarding indemnification agreements and roughly remember being told that indemnification agreements don't offer protection if you directly are negligent.  May need to double check me on that though.


Stephen Seymour, PE
Seymour Engineering & Consulting Group

RE: Liability for basic design on side job..

They do if your clause includes negligence as one of the indemnified items.

RE: Liability for basic design on side job..

I can't think of why anyone would be willing to indemnify you against your own negligence.

Ideally, in this situation there would be a sub-contractor or contract employee agreement in place that would cover liability issues.

If the drawings are issued by his firm sealed by him as their agent; unless you are grossly negligent it is unlikely you would be sued. The firm has the deep pocket.

RE: Liability for basic design on side job..

Come on people....don't be stupid!  If a licensed professional engineer receives data from one of his technicians, from one of his engineers that he supervises or from some outside source, what is his obligation?  To validate the data!! If he receives data, in this case a design or analysis, from his "friend" the engineer who is moonlighting, he has to assure himself that he can believe the data. If he doesn't do so, he violates his own standard of care and negligence standards.  If he does so, he accepts the responsibility of the data as the engineer in responsible charge. That's why we are licensed!

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