Spearin and the Standard of Care: How Good Does a Design Have to Be?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM (Eastern Time (US & Canada))

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This online class carries 1.5 PDHs (Professional Development Hours).

Curriculum Track: Legal Risk and Ethics

Member Organization: National Events

Faculty: Kevin O’Beirne, PE, FCSI, CCS, CCA, Manager, Standard Construction Documents, Arcadis and Gerard (Jerry) Cavaluzzi, Vice President & General Counsel, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants

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Many construction projects result in allegations of insufficient design by the architect or engineer, or defective drawings and specifications, and the resulting finger-pointing and claims can be costly, stressful, and fatal to good business relationships. 

But just how good does a given design have to be in order to be consistent with applicable contractual provisions and applicable caselaw? 

The answers are found in the language of the owner-design professional agreement for professional services, and within an important concept called the Spearin Doctrine.

Join Kevin O'Beirne and Jerry Cavaluzzi to explore these concepts, discuss who decides when a design or its associated professional services are truly insufficient, and examine how these principles were applied in two recent, notable court decisions.


  • Identify the location of and typical language of the standard of care and the potential consequences of accepting an elevated standard of care
  • Explain the origins and meaning of the Spearin Doctrine
  • Discuss the differences between the standard of care and the Spearin Doctrine
  • Understand who determines when the standard of care or Spearin Doctrine has been violated
  • Discuss the application of the standard of care and the Spearin Doctrine as interpreted in recent court cases


ACEC Members: $199
Non-members: $299

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Maureen Brown






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