Errors and Omissions Insurance for Interior Designers
An interior designer is an important part of any commercial or residential living space, with an ability to work within specified space requirements to create livable environments. Whether an interior designer is determining lighting placement in an office space or choosing materials for the lobby of a high-rise condominium complex, his role is an important one that often goes unnoticed.
But interior designers also face multiple risks with each project. One lawsuit could financially devastate a design firm, especially in the early days as it strives to establish itself in the industry. Realizing these risks, many interior designers now carry errors and omissions insurance specific to interior design. This insurance can help protect against the following risks interior designers face.
Once interior designers have completed the planning phase of a design project, they can begin ordering materials for the space. Design firms are usually at the mercy of the supplier when placing orders, trusting that the materials that arrive will be of the best quality. However, in some instances, materials could prove defective, posing problems later that result in legal issues.
Another risk faced by interior designers is an error in spatial design. Despite careful planning, occasionally a designer may find that his measurements were slightly off in the original plan, resulting in costly delays. If this delay distresses the client enough, a lawsuit could result.
Interior designers make every attempt to be as fastidious as possible in the project planning and design process. Even with this careful planning, however, occasionally firms make errors. A designer may give erroneous advice to a client, whether this advice is based on insufficient information or simply a mistake in communication. When this advice results in unrealistic expectations, project delays can result.
During the course of a project, changes can occur that result in higher costs for the client. When those changes present themselves, it’s the responsibility of the design firm to obtain written consent to the client, especially if the change will increase the client’s overall project cost. In the rush to keep the project moving along, occasionally interior designers will neglect to get this written consent, leading to an unpleasant surprise at the time the project is completed. When this happens, the client will be understandably angry and occasionally even refuse to pay.
When a designer’s actions lead to legal action, firms can spend a large sum of money defending itself in court. Even if the designer is found to be not guilty, the court costs and lost work time can be financially debilitating. If a firm is forced to settle or face a large judgment, the impact on its annual budget can potentially put it out of business.
With errors and omissions insurance specific to interior designers, firms can protect themselves against human error, providing the peace of mind firms need to continue to do business. In many cases, clients ask that errors and omissions insurance be in place before choosing a firm for a project, so having this insurance in place can result in more work. With so many factors going into large interior design projects, errors and omissions insurance is crucial for all interior designers working in the industry today.