The doctrine of privity in the common law of contract protects architects and engineers from lawsuits by contractors by requiring that for one party to sue another, there must be a contract between them.
Until its abandonment over the last half-century, the law of privity was a reliable defense for architects and engineers against claims for negligence brought by third parties, even if personal injury was involved.
All claims and disputes between the owner and the contractor on projects using American Institute of Architects (AIA) A232, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction must be submitted to a first-fact-finder for investigation and a written decision before proceeding to mediation or arbitration.
Documents are usually critical items when parties—including architects, engineers, contractors, and owners—become involved in a dispute. This is true whether the dispute will be litigated, arbitrated, or mediated.