ASHRAE Document Helps Engineers Avoid Legal Pitfalls

A document published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) describes how HVACR design engineers can avoid disputes and litigation by identifying common pitfalls that can lead to legal exposure.

The ASHRAE Member’s Survival Guide — Avoiding Pitfalls in Engineering Practice also suggests sound business and professional practices to help avoid these pitfalls.

The document addresses professional responsibility; pre-engagement discussions with clients and owners; contracts, investigation of factors that influence design, planning and execution of designs; preparing plans and specifications; and reviewing requests for information, shop drawings and other contractor submittals.

It addresses the issue chronologically, beginning with the offering of a commission and continuing through the predesign, design and construction phases.

“Engineers all have the potential for disputes and legal exposure if they fail to take appropriate steps to protect themselves in business or exercise reasonable care in the performance of their duties,” author Frederick Kohloss, P.E., says. “Since disputes and litigation are costly, time-consuming, burdensome and extremely stressful, every effort should be made to avoid them.” Kohloss is a member of ASHRAE’s task group on general legal education.

The cost of The ASHRAE Member’s Survival Guide — Avoiding Pitfalls in Engineering Practice is $19 non-members ($16, ASHRAE members).

To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Service at 404-636-8400, or visit

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