Feb 18, 2015

The Spearin Doctrine Cont’d: Some Important Nuances and Exceptions

Last month, we discussed the Spearin doctrine, which establishes that a project owner impliedly warrants that plans and design specifications will be adequate if the owner issues and the contractor complies with the plans and specifications.[1]  As a result, a contractor can use the Spearin doctrine defensively to avoid the consequences of defective plans and specifications or offensively to bring a claim if the defective plans and specifications cause its work to be more expensive, timely, or difficult. The Spearin doctrine’s applicability and longevity have spawned a number of nuances and exceptions, some of which we discuss in this month’s… Read more


Jan 7, 2015

The Spearin Doctrine: Determining Who Bears the Construction Risk of Design Errors

All owners, contractors, and subcontractors should carefully negotiate contract clauses that govern their relationships. In addition, all construction participants should be aware of the many implied obligations in construction contracts. An implied obligation is one that is not expressly stated in a contract but implied, by courts, arbitration panels, and dispute review boards. One such implied obligation is the implied warranty of the adequacy of the plans and specifications, also known as the Spearin Doctrine. Before the turn of the 19th century, the law generally placed all construction risk on contractors, except in the event that their contract expressly stated… Read more