Architects, contractors and owners will benefit from this program to understand the importance of proper detailing primarily for exterior envelope design and how construction sequencing impacts results. 

Not unlike the David Letterman Top Ten List, this program will present at least ten of the most common details that have resulted in failure, water entry, mold and litigation involving architects, contractors, owners and developers. A 2010 survey found that the average cost of civil litigation rose 73% between 2000 and 2008 and was rising at the rate of 9% each year.

The challenge is to perform better quality control on the documents and understand the areas where claims are brought in order to improve designs and to avoid some of the most common failures. Many of these details look fine on paper, but when the current means of construction and sequencing take place it often results in conditions that compromise the design intent.

Date, Time, Location

Wednesday, January 21
7:30 am to 9:30 am
International Market Square, Suite 185
275 Market Street, Minneapolis 55405


Includes handout and continental breakfast

AIA Members $40
NonMembers $60

Continuing education

2.0 HSW LU Hours

Learning objectives

Attendees will be able to:
  1. Comprehend the importance of air, vapor and weather barriers and explain the requirements for each.
  2. Explain how design details and intent can result in building failures.
  3. Identify materials often used and areas of the building details that are prone to failure due to trade contractor sequencing, and explain how to obtain greater success.
  4. Explain the Standard of Care that is required by the designer and how it is evaluated during litigation. 

Program outline

  • Brief history of building failures – litigation 10 years ago; litigation today
  • Importance of air, weather and vapor barriers – what does the code say?
  • What does construction sequencing have to do with anything?
  • Why does the architect get sued?
  • What details are not, but should be in the plans
  •  Top Ten Things
  1. Foundation wall details
  2. Split faces block
  3. Roof parapets
  4. Overhangs
  5. Window placement
  6. Flashing wood projections
  7. Metal sill flashing
  8. Air bypasses
  9. Post and beam construction
  10. Construction phase activities


Steve Flaten, AIA, is an architect specializing in building sciences with Braun Intertec, a local independent testing and consulting firm. He has over 40 years of experience in the area of construction troubleshooting, construction administration, peer reviews, site inspections, detail consulting and expert witness services to the legal community. He has participated in plan reviews of projects such as the new Viking’s Stadium, TCF Stadium, hotels, multi-family housing and condominiums and health care facilities. He carries the knowledge of common details that are found in plans from many architectural firms that result in failure and litigation.

Register to attend

Registration is now closed.  


Contact Deanna Christiansen, Continuing Education Director