07 May 2019

What does reasonable care and skill mean?

Exercising reasonable care and skill requires a professional to provide services in a reasonably competent manner. This means you should apply the requisite skill and care expected from a competently skilled professional performing services within their area of expertise. In some cases, a consultant exercising reasonable care should refer to an expert if services fall outside their expertise.

What happens when reasonable care and skill is not followed?

If you do not perform your design services with reasonable care and skill, you are likely to make costly design errors and time delays at the expense of your client, who will then seek redress from your professional indemnity insurance, if you have it.  If you do not have professional indemnity insurance, you may receive a civil claim against you personally.  Many claims arise where:

  1. An oversight has occurred and is reflected within the documentation. In these situations, the professional would have failed to take requisite care in the details of the documentation, their design, or supervision of junior staff assisting with design and documentation, or
  2. The professional has provided advice which fell outside of their scope of expertise. In these situations, they ought to have sought expert help or advice from a third party, or
  3. The professional relied on (without exercising his or her own due diligence) product data sheets or marketing material of products which may not have been suitable for their intended purpose.


As a rule of thumb, a design consultant should exercise all the reasonable skill, care and diligence to be expected of an appropriately qualified and competent consultant experienced in carrying out similar or equivalent services.


Subashini Padmasekaran
Claims Manager