The construction sector has often been called the backbone of the Canadian economy, employing more than 1.2 million workers that represent around 7% of the total Canadian workforce. This sector is also expected be worth $455 billion by 2024, according to Randstad – nothing to sneer at as COVID-19 continues to take a toll on many other industries and the broader national economy.
Nonetheless, the sector is not without its challenges. During a recent webinar, Burns & Wilcox experts outlined the current environment for architects and engineers, and discussed what brokers should keep in mind as they navigate the insurance marketplace.
“When there are mistakes that are made within this space, it’s more than just typical professional liability,” said David Derigiotis, corporate senior vice president and national professional liability practice leader at Burns & Wilcox. “There’s so much more at stake … If there is a shortcut taken by an engineer or design firm, if there are cheaper goods that are used in the process, or if they just flat out get the design wrong during the process, the results can be more than just financial loss.”
A failed project could lead to property destruction or even loss of life. When you throw the coronavirus into the mix, the challenges and risks increase further. For example, restaurants and eateries have had to retrofit and change their environments so that they can meet guidelines on proper social distancing, which brings with it design risks – and the challenges only start there.
Alongside what another expert called the “never-ending changes in permitting and code,” construction is an industry that has been subject to the rise and fall of custom materials, labour shortages, recessions, and the use of technology, explained Michelle Picklesimer, underwriting director at Burns & Wilcox.