ON THE MOVE DEWBERRY WELCOMES TRANSPORTATION EXPERT INDRADEEP CHAKRABARTY Dewberry , a privately held professional services firm, has announced that Indradeep Chakrabarty, AICP, has joined the firm as a senior project manager and senior planner in the northeast environmental practice. Chakrabarty has more than 18 years of experience managing and delivering transportation and environmental planning projects. He has worked as both a consultant to transit and transportation agencies like the Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York City Transit, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak, as well as a city employee, designing and implementing initiatives for New York City, and
San Antonio, Texas. Chakrabarty’s background includes addressing client needs in the areas of planning, funding policies, regulations, and operational constraints. “Indradeep’s expertise in transportation planning coupled with his background in architecture adds a unique perspective to our team,” says Dewberry Senior Vice President Ileana S. Ivanciu, Ph.D. “We’re very excited about the skills Indradeep brings to the firm, which we will be able to offer our clients.” Chakrabarty earned his master’s degree in urban environmental systems management from the Pratt Institute (2002) and his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the
School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi, India (1998). He is a certified planner by the American Institute of Certified Planners. Dewberry is a leading, market-facing firm with a proven history of providing professional services to a wide variety of public- and private-sector clients. Recognized for combining unsurpassed commitment to client service with deep subject matter expertise, Dewberry is dedicated to solving clients’ most complex challenges and transforming their communities. Established in 1956, Dewberry is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, with more than 50 locations and more than 2,000 professionals nationwide.
ROB HUGHES, from page 3
are liable for any damages resulting from errors or omissions present in or arising from reliance upon or use of that information. 4)Acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 as a Guarantee of Schedule. Think back to March 2020, when COVID, the transition to remote workstations, and project shutdowns drew our attention to the nuances of force majeure provisions (or lack of them) in professional service agreements. Reasonable force majeure clauses could give both sides to the contract – the client and design firm – the mechanism to take reasonably accommodated project interruptions regarding schedule, etc. Sound business practice during the ensuing summer months may have included the tweaking of your form agreements to specifically list “pandemics” or “COVID” as a trigger event to the force majeure clause. Recently, however, contracts have included language, such as the following: Consultant acknowledges that it is fully versed in the potential impact of COVID-19 on its workforce and on projects of this nature. Consultant warrants that COVID will not have any current or future impact on its ability to perform its services on time, on-budget, and so as not to adversely impact the overall Project. The concern is twofold. As a practical matter, how can anyone know the future impact of COVID? Nonetheless, you’re required to attest that you can/have and that no future government guidelines – local, state, or federal – will impact your ability to perform the “services.” Second, the provision is a written warranty of performing on time (and on budget) and any claim made against you citing this language would likely be excluded from coverage. In a real sense, this language is the exact opposite of reasonable force majeure provision and ideally would be deleted form the final, signed agreement. Even as they seek to win more business in the challenging environment caused by the pandemic, AEC firms must remain vigilant about not assuming excessive risk. By carefully reviewing their contracts – ideally with the assistance of an attorney and knowledgeable insurance broker – AEC firms may avoid inadvertently signing on to significant additional exposures, uninsured risks, and elevated costs. ROB HUGHES, senior vice president and partner, Ames & Gough. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
perfect performance). 2)Hiring consultants historically hired directly by the owner. Owners typically hire architects (or engineers) to design their project; the architect (or engineer) then hires subconsultants covering various service disciplines. That stated, some scopes of services, such as geotechnical engineering and environmental investigations, are traditionally independently retained by the owner, outside the prime designer’s responsibilities. However, more contracts are requiring the prime consultant to retain all subconsultants on the project including firms selected by the owner. Design firms generally should not agree to this. If you hold the contract, you are liable for the subs’ negligence and the owner may sue you for their error. “AEC firms must remain vigilant about not assuming excessive risk. By carefully reviewing their contracts, AEC firms may avoid inadvertently signing on to significant additional exposures, uninsured risks, and elevated costs.” 3)No right to rely on owner supplied information. In any project, the design team can only complete its work after it receives relevant information and documents from the owner – be it geotechnical reports, as-builts of existent structures, etc. Traditionally, contracts addressed at least two related obligations – one on the owner to provide accurate information in a timely manner; the other on the designer giving them and their subs the right to rely on that information. Watch for overly broad language requiring the designer to identify and ask the owner for information needed to perform their services. Try to convince the owner to remove wording imposing an affirmative duty on the designer to verify all owner-supplied information, asserting the designer has “no right” to rely on such information, and that it is proceeding at its own risk. Recognize that if you accept this language, you technically “own” that owner-supplied information and consequently
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THE ZWEIG LETTER FEBRUARY 15, 2021, ISSUE 1379
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