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THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ARCHITECT-LED & CONTRACTOR-LED DESIGN-BUILD

By: Jim Zahn, Of Counsel

Architects and Contractors are becoming increasingly interested in providing design-build services to their clients. The design-build process of project delivery differs significantly from the design, bid, build process previously used for many decades, and still commonly used today that has been used for many decades. Before providing any design-build services, architects and contractors should be familiar with the shift in contractual obligations, as well as governing regulations specifically regulating design-build services.

There are two basic types of design-build services, one being led by the architect, and the other being led by the contractor. The duties of the architect and contractor change depending on which of these two basic approaches is utilized. The following briefly discusses some of the significant changes in roles of the architect and contractor.

ARCHITECT-LED DESIGN-BUILD SERVICES

Architect is in responsible charge of construction means, methods, techniques, safety procedures and precautions of everyone working on the project.

The Architect must obtain proper licenses and contractor’s commercial general liability policies in order to perform construction services. The Architect is responsible for the total cost of design and construction of the project; for all timing issues such as dates of substantial and final completion; for all costs of project delays if caused by any party for whom the architect is legally liable; for all safety procedures and precautions; for all costs of mechanics liens incurred by the owner after the owner pays the architect for work performed, and the architect or the architect’s subconsultants or subcontractors fail to pay their respective subconsultants or material suppliers. Basically, the architect is responsible for all professional design services as well as all construction services necessary in order to construct the project.

CONTRACTOR-LED DESIGN-BUILD SERVICES

The Contractor is in responsible charge of construction means, methods, techniques, safety procedures and precautions of everyone working on the project.

The Contractor must obtain proper licenses and professional liability insurance policies in order to offer and perform professional architectural design services. The Contractor is responsible for the total cost of design and construction of the project; for all timing issues such as dates of substantial and final completion; for all costs of project delays if caused by any party for whom the contractor is legally liable; for all safety procedures and precautions; for all costs of mechanics liens incurred by the owner after the owner pays the contractor for work performed, and the contractor or the contractor’s subconsultants or subcontractors fail to pay their respective subconsultants or material suppliers. Basically, the contractor is responsible for all professional design services as well as all construction services necessary in order to construct the project.

REGULATIONS GOVERNING DESIGN-BUILD SERVICES

All states govern the practice of architecture. It is incumbent that the architect or contractor engaging in a design-build situation, whether architect-led design-build or contractor-led design-build, be knowledgeable of the current laws governing the practice of architecture in the state in which the project it to be constructed by the design-build entity.

RISKS VERSUS REWARDS

An architect can increase potential profits by offering architect-led design build services to clients interested in using the design-build process. That said, be extremely cautious in evaluating your own construction experiences and knowledge of the construction process. The design-build process is definitely not as easy as it may first appear to an uninformed architect or contractor. It is difficult and very expensive for an architect to obtain a construction commercial general liability policy. It is also slightly less difficult, but still very expensive for a contractor to obtain a professional liability policy covering the design services being performed.

  • by Emily Flores
  • posted at 11:39 AM
  • 07/10/2017