Building Officials Suspending Site Inspections during COVID-19 (Part I) – Bulletin #3


Building Officials Suspending Site Inspections (Part I)

The City of Toronto has advised that the Building Department has effectively put its permit processing and construction site inspections “on hold.” Other municipalities have adopted a similar position.

Architects who provide Contract Administration and General Review services on projects in municipalities that are not sending building inspectors to construction sites must adopt measures to protect themselves from claims that may flow from the absence of the building department services.

One action that every architect should take immediately is the inclusion of a prominent “disclaimer” in any correspondence or reports directed to any clients, consultants, contractors and authorities, including municipal building departments.

The following disclaimer is recommended:

This report is issued and should be read together with all previously issued reports, including reports issued by any and all consultants. Nothing in this report relieves the contractor from performing its work in accordance with the plans and specifications, pursuant to the requirements of the Ontario Building Code and the requirements of all authorities having jurisdiction. The contractor shall ensure that its work is inspected by all authorities having jurisdiction. This report is not a substitute for and does not replace the statutory duties of authorities having jurisdiction to carry out their own independent inspections.

The final sentence in bold should be considered mandatory for any reports or correspondence that
are submitted to a building department or any authority having jurisdiction.

Refer to Pro-Demnity COVID-19 Special Bulletin 4 for additional discussion and information.

The contents of this Bulletin are provided for general information purposes only. The information contained herein is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Readers must consult their own lawyer respecting the applicability to any particular circumstances of any of the information provided in this Bulletin. Pro-Demnity makes no representation or warranty regarding the contents of this bulletin and does now warrant or guarantee that information in this document, however used, will lead to any particular outcome or result. Pro-Demnity will not be liable for any loss, damage, costs or expense arising by reason of any person using or relying upon information in this Bulletin. in the event of a claim against an architect, the terms and conditions of the pro-Demnity insurance policy will apply. Coverage decisions can only be made at the time a claim arises, based on the allegations and the then known circumstances.

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