Limitations and exclusions of liability—consultant appointments
Limitations and exclusions of liability—consultant appointments

The following Construction guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Limitations and exclusions of liability—consultant appointments
  • Why consultants seek to limit their liability
  • Consultant body standard form appointments
  • Third party documents
  • Practical considerations

This Practice Note provides specific guidance on exclusions and limits of liability relevant to consultant appointments. It should be read alongside Practice Note: Limiting liability in construction contracts, which provides more detailed information.

Why consultants seek to limit their liability

Professional consultants who carry out design and/or other professional services for construction projects will usually have their own professional indemnity (PI) insurance policies in place in order to protect them if they get sued for a breach of a professional duty. It is usually a requirement of all professional appointments that consultants are required to take out and maintain PI insurance. PI insurance not only protects the consultant, but also protects the relevant employer, as it knows that there is a certain amount of money available, albeit from insurers, to cover any claim against the consultant. For more information on PI insurance, please refer to Practice Note: Professional indemnity insurance in a consultant's appointment.

PI insurance is, however, expensive, and the level of cover taken out by most consultants is unlikely to cover all potential claims, particularly on larger projects. For this reason many consultants try to limit their overall liability in their appointments. Alternatively, they may seek to exclude certain types of liability such as indirect or consequential loss. The most common ways for a consultant to limit or exclude