Drones Impact the Design Professional’s Industry
How will the use of drones impact the design professional’s industry standard of standard of care? Answer: It already is… Consider the following: The standard of care sets the maximum performance or quality level that a design professional can warrant or guarantee to a client. The standard of care is an average of all professionals performing the same or similar services on similar projects in the same region at the same time. If a client suffers a financial loss resulting from a design professional’s failure to meet the standard of care, the loss is insurable.
Back to drones… The standard of care generally begins with marketing and setting the service expectation of a potential client. If your practice is already using drones, how are you “selling” the benefits of drone usage to potential clients? Is your firm promoting really cool hi-resolution photos and making hints that other firms not using drones are less technical or capable? Is your firm promoting that the use a drones as an important tool for construction evaluation and observation, final inspections, verification of as-built conditions, and monitoring for operation and maintenance? If so, you may be setting a client expectation that the use of drones will increase the likelihood of a successful project and it may. However, the use of drones is not yet the industry standard. You could be in jeopardy if a client can demonstrate that the selection of your practice was predicated on cool photos and the impression of an improved project delivery. A ruling in favor of the client will most likely be uninsurable because professional liability coverage responds only to damage resulting from a failure to meet and not exceed the industry standard of care.
To read more, please see David A. Ericksen’s from Severson & Werson recent article.