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Construction Contracts and Augmented Reality: Ownership, Breaches, Allocation of Liability, Cyber Insurance

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide construction counsel with advice on developments in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), focusing on how these new tools are being incorporated into the design of a project, the monitoring of its progress, the impact on job site safety programs, and how these issues may and should be incorporated into construction related agreements to address ownership of Instruments of Service, and how these tools may impact project related claims and liabilities. The panel will discuss how intellectual property related litigation can be avoided if parties clarify their roles and relationships before sharing ideas and creating material for a project, and how use of VR on the job site can impact liability and litigation.


AR and VR technology presents several potential legal issues when used in construction projects. First and foremost, the parties must determine the ownership, licensing, and use of AR and VR created Instruments of Service, as well as the ownership of the records created using these tools as an intellectual property issue. AR/VR-assisted plans may have multiple contributors and users, so disputes may arise regarding who is the author/owner of the plans and the right to use the programs with third-party contracts. For licensing of the tools themselves, consideration must be given to maintenance of the tools, patching where required, and claims for flaws in the tools themselves. Contracts must be well drafted to alleviate intellectual property and other issues. Still, counsel must consider and address these potential problems before using AR/VR platforms to avoid costly disputes.

In addition to issues of intellectual property ownership, when multiple parties can easily contribute to a singular design program file, assigning liability for design mistakes can be problematic. VR and AR can distort the division between designer, contractor, and end-user on a project, as each party may contribute to the design, shifting traditional risk allocation. As a project's dimensions change multiple times over the course of development, delays can arise in delivering supplies and labor. Contracts should clearly delineate the party(ies) responsible for version control, and ownership (and responsibility for) the Instruments of Service and changes thereto as the Project progresses.

Construction counsel must clarify what constitutes a breach in the contract, and which party(ies) are accountable when deviations from the AR/VR plans occur, including project revisions. Further, while AR and VR applications are used to increase project safety, careless use of the products, and improper maintenance of the underlying software, may increase the risk of injuries. Further, the information captured by these tools may be discoverable in a personal injury claim. The contract should allocate responsibility for preparing and enforcing safety guidelines for the use of AR and VR technology onsite, and who is responsible for maintaining the software. If the use of VR and AR is not addressed in the parties' agreements, but the technology is used anyway, all project team members involved expose themselves to risk.

AR and VR are also vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and hackers. The plans and programs typically store confidential or proprietary information, and a cyberattack threatens a user's security and confidential information. A cyber breach can also occur during changes to project specifications and lead to delays and mistakes, in both design and execution. While the risk at present may be speculative, parties to construction contracts should consider whether team members using AR or VR on the project should be required to carry cyber liability insurance to cover losses stemming from a data breach.

Listen as our expert panel examines the benefits of using AR/VR technology in conjunction with construction contracts and how to mitigate risks and allocate liability in a system created for multiple users and evolving design.



  1. Ownership and intellectual property
  2. Contract and drafting considerations
  3. Allocation of liability
  4. Breach
  5. Use and discoverability of records in the course of claims
  6. Cybersecurity and insurance


The panel will review these and other relevant topics:

  • Who holds the ownership and right of use for AR and VR programs, and how is that addressed in construction contracts?
  • How can risk be allocated with multiple contributors to AR and VR designs?
  • How can construction contracts clarify what constitutes a breach when deviating from AR/VR designs?
  • When should cyber liability insurance be required by parties to construction agreements with AR/VR plans?


Remore, Abigail
Abigail J. Remore

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi

Ms. Remore handles a wide range of intellectual property matters, including litigation, enforcement, counseling,...  |  Read More

Schaap, Michelle
Michelle A. Schaap

Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi

Ms. Schaap practices primarily in cybersecurity and corporate law, particularly as it pertains to construction,...  |  Read More

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