Below is an overview of the changes to California Business and Professions Code Section 5588 and its effect on the reporting requirements, for architects, in the construction industry.
Section 5588 Prior to 2005 Legislative Changes
Section 5588 of the California Business and Professions Code sets forth the reporting requirements for many business professionals including architects. Since 1979, Section 5588 has required architects and their insurers to report to the California Architect Board (the Board) “any settlement or arbitration award in excess of five thousand dollars ($ 5,000) of a claim or action for damages caused by the license holder’s fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or recklessness in practice.”1
The language of the code section left open for interpretation the question of what types of settlement claims must be reported to the Board. Thus, in 2004, the Attorney General of the State of California published an opinion stating that a reportable settlement includes “any agreement resolving all or part of a demand for money which is based upon an insured architect’s alleged wrongful conduct.”2 He then went on to conclude that the only qualifications placed on the term “claim” for purposes of Section 5588 is that “(1) the demand be premised on the license holder’s alleged ‘fraud, deceit, negligence, incompetency, or recklessness in practice,’ and (2) the value of the claim, as measured by the settlement amount or arbitration award, exceeds $5,000.”3