A new “peer review” law in Missouri is the first of its kind for design professionals. So what does the new legislation mean and how will it affect design professionals such as architects and engineers?
On July 10, 2012, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed into law first-in-the-nation legal protection for peer reviews by design professionals. The two-pronged bill provides protection for outside firms who review the design of a “peer” prior to project completion, and for the teaching of in-hour “lesson learned” of completed projects. It is designed to help architects and engineers identify best practices and reduce errors and omissions in future designs.
Until now, Missouri design professionals who would otherwise have been willing to serve as peer reviewers for other firms’ projects might have been reluctant to do so for fear of being dragged into claims or lawsuits involving those projects.
“Every project has its flaws, but with this new law, design professionals can catch them on the front end, via outside peer review, and learn from them on the back end, via lessons learned,” said Bill Quatman, General Counsel for Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. Quatman helped advocate for the peer review law. “In the end, the new law should improve public safety and result in fewer design errors and omissions.”
The legislature will hold for 10 years allowing Missouri design professionals to prove the law is worthwhile. On January 1, 2023, the law will “sunset” unless it is reauthorized by the legislature.
The new law has real potential to promote timely identification of design errors, help design professionals learn from past projects and improve the quality of design in general. It is anticipated that several other states will follow the ‘Show-Me’ State’s example.
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