Crisis Response: An A/E Action Plan When Condos Tumble
Published by COLLINS + COLLINS LLP
The recent and tragic Miami condo collapse has provoked many inquiries as to what a design professional might do in the event of a tragedy. Although dramatic, it was not the first such incident and unfortunately, will not be the last. The following is a five-step plan for consideration by design professional individuals or firms before, during, and after such an event.
Content Groups. In anticipation of any crisis, consider having an established set of crisis contacts inside and outside the firm. That contact group should be notified and consulted immediately and could include:
- Core management group for the firm should be contacted immediately and they should have standing contacts for outside resources, including those below.
- Retained counsel to establish confidentiality and privilege around the communications as well as to provide their own critical advice and support.
- Insurance representative(s) to trigger and coordinate potential coverage as well as to take advantage of an insurer’s resources and advice.
- Internally. Firm staff and members ought to be notified as soon as possible; assured the firm is responding and investigating; and directed not to discuss the event internally or externally except as requested or directed by management.
- Externally. Consider identifying a single point of contact for all public communications and press inquiries and direct all contacts or questions to that person.
Contact the Affected Client. Consider reaching out to the client to establish communication and to be a supportive listener. It’s usually a good idea to avoid analysis, apologies, and admissions in favor of offers to support and investigate.
Investigate. Its generally a good idea to:
- Identify, locate, and contact present and past staff and design team members involved in the project.
- Secure the project records in electronic or hard copy format with particular focus on contracts, final invoices, and final plans and specifications as well as any as-built records.
- If feasible, without impairing safety or recovery efforts, promptly visit the site to observe and document conditions.
With the foregoing in mind and in collaboration with the team identified above, assess the situation and plan the next steps. The acronym IROPE for Issue-identification, Risk-review, Options, Plan, and Execute is a helpful guide.
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In 1964, father and son, James and John Collins, founded the firm in Pasadena, California to serve the needs of public entities and private clients situated in Los Angeles County. The firm’s growth started to take off when Sam Muir merged his firm with Collins and Collins in the 1980s. The firm continued to expand through organic growth and cultivating young attorneys to lead the firm into the new millennium, expanding the firm’s practice to include over eleven different practice areas and multiple offices to better serve the needs of its diverse clientele in both state and federal matters throughout California.
Today, C+C serves clients in both litigation and transactional matters throughout the State of California, with over 60 dedicated attorneys working from five offices strategically located throughout the state.
Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice. Anyone who reads this article should consult with an attorney before acting on anything contained in this or any other article on legal matters, as facts and circumstances will vary from case to case.
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