November 29, 2018 Samantha Tu

Presentation at the University of Windsor

Last month, Rob Lydan, visited the University of Windsor to present a guest lecture as part of the Canadian Infrastructure Law and Project Finance course.  He introduced the law students to Phoventus’ work, services, and core areas of specialty.  One of Phoventus’ core business areas includes professional engineering services in the electrical, civil, and structural sector.  But what role does an engineer play when it comes to law?

 In the realm of project finances, Rob bridged the gap between engineering and legal.  He discussed the responsibilities of independent engineers when taking on projects across all industries. The students had the opportunity to learn how independent engineers are represented, how to find one, and how the firm’s culture may impact the way they work.  Beyond speaking about the role of an independent engineer, Rob also provided examples of legal documentation used in the industry to hire one. He also gave a quick run-down of how to interpret these documents, so that each student has a well-rounded understanding of what to expect.

After laying down the groundwork, Rob discussed liability management and risk.  Rob touched on the following talking points regarding liability, and provided some scenarios:

  • How do firms balance liability with what the clients want? What steps do clients and engineers need to take to negotiate a fair contract?
  • How do engineers ensure that they provide a report that covers all liabilities, without being too ambiguous or misleading?
  • How do engineers accrue project liability?

Rob also discussed risk management in both foreseeable and unforeseeable contexts, and how to mitigate risk from a legal standpoint.  He highlighted the importance of establishing Standards of Care when managing EPC contracts.  Rob provided examples where risk can occur in an EPC contract, and how to disseminate this information from legal documentation. The take-home message was to understand how to identify risk, and how to manage it.