Construction Project Design – Who Owns it?

Here is Lesson Two from the 3/4/20 Idaho State Bar Real Property Section’s annual CLE program. Please see my post for Lesson One Construction Project Risk Management – the Sooner, the Better!

Lesson Two – Make Sure You Know Who Owns the Design for Which the Owner is Paying.

Frank Lee provided an overview of the contract forms he sees in common use from (i) the A.I.A., (ii) the Engineers Joint Contract Document Committee, and (iii)

The A.I.A is “the voice of the architectural profession and a resource for its members in service to society.”

The EJCDC is “a coalition of stakeholders in the project delivery process who develop and endorse quality contract documents and encourage their use through education and promotion.

The ConsensusDocs Coalition says it “consists of 40 prominent organizations collectively represent over more than 300,000 individuals and companies.”

Ownership of the Design.

Frank mentioned that the A.I.A. contract forms provide that the architect the owner of the copyright in the design of the project, even though the Project Owner (PO) is paying for the design. This means that the PO could face copyright infringement claims from the architect if the PO uses the design elsewhere.

The solution to this problem is for the PO to get a written agreement with the architect in which the PO is named as the owner of the design.


POs would be well served to have contract forms reviewed by construction-savvy lawyers who are licensed to practice law in the state where the project is going to be built.

Michael Oswald

Please note: the above post contains educational information. It is not intended as legal advice. Engage an attorney who is licensed in your state to get advice on dealing with any specific legal issue.

© 2020 Michael S. Oswald

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