NCASLA Works to Protect the Industry

During the 2019 Long Session of the North Carolinas General Assembly, NCASLA partnered with other associations of design professionals, including engineers, architects and surveyors, to introduce and advocate for House Bill 871 – Fair Contracts. An identical Senate bill, Senate Bill 569, was also filed.

The goal of the legislation was to prohibit any contract requiring landscape architects, engineers, architects or surveyors to indemnify, hold harmless or defend the other party to the contract against liability or claims for damages, losses or expenses, including attorneys' fees, for actions by the other party. Landscape architect liability insurance generally does not cover clauses like this and as a result, contracts that require landscape architects to cover these losses pose tremendous risk for the landscape architect.

The House first passed the bill on May 2nd and the Senate ultimately passed the bill on June 26th. Because the two versions of the bill varied slightly, the House was required to vote on the bill again on June 27th. Governor Roy Cooper then signed House Bill 871 into law on June 8th, making it the 92nd bill to become law in North Carolina in 2019. As a result, after the Oct. 1 effective date landscape architects can no longer be required to indemnify or hold harmless the other party in contracts for landscape architecture services for damages not caused by the landscape architect.

We would like to thank the other professional groups for their work on the bill and particularly the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina for raising the issue that design professionals were legally vulnerable in this way. We also appreciate and commend the work of the bill's sponsors: Rep. Dean Arp (R – Union), Rep. Sarah Stevens (R – Wilkes), Rep. Robert Reives (D – Chatham) and Rep. Elmer Floyd (D – Cumberland). This legislation is a great example of the great work that NCASLA does at the North Carolina General Assembly each year, the importance of advocacy and the value of partnering with similarly situated professional groups to achieve mutual goals.