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Who is considered a design professional under California law?

Design professionals throughout the Bay Area make communities efficient, attractive, and safe. Their education and skills provide invaluable services to local economies as they create designs for construction, improvement, and redevelopment. Many design professionals are licensed and subject to regulations to ensure that their work is compliant with mandated standards.

The term “design professional” covers many different disciplines. This post will discuss some of the professions covered by this designation, but readers are reminded that this post does not offer any legal counsel or advice. Questions about design professional designations, liability, and other legal issues should be directed to California-based building and construction law attorneys.

What is a design professional?

Under the California Civil Code, a design professional can be one of several different types of specialists:

  • A licensed architect;
  • A licensed landscape architect;
  • A registered professional engineer; and
  • A licensed land surveyor.

Individuals who have the designation “design professional” are not only subject to the laws and regulations of the state, but also the rules of conduction and responsibility of their professions. Challenges to the work and integrity of design professionals can therefore impose both legal and professional roadblocks to their careers.

What legal problems can impact design professionals?

Whenever a problem comes up during or after the construction of a building project, any party that was involved in its planning or development may find itself facing legal and professional challenges. A design professional may be accused of violating the terms of a contract or failing to provide a safe design or plan for construction. They may face claims that they failed to investigate the physical conditions of the build location or that their design led to losses, bodily harm, or other damages.

Facing legal and professional claims can jeopardize the ability of a design professional to work in their field. Legal representation is available from attorneys who work with design professionals to address these and other legal issues.