As design-build keeps increasing market share in the project delivery process, more often than not architects and engineering firms are relegated to subcontractor status. Often, the contracts used reduce the amount of services provided by professionals, target professionals for all of the professional liability exposure (even though design-builders should carry professional liability insurance), and create contractual and warranty obligations that design firms can neither control nor insure.
Earlier this year The American Institute of Architects released new versions of its design-build family of documents. As with each iteration of the documents, this set has been refined to address the design-build project delivery system in a more realistic and responsive way.
The family of documents includes a complete set of contracts between the owner and the design-builder, the design-builder and contractor, and the design-builder and architect, as well as subagreements in both the design and construction paths of responsibility. Additionally, the set includes the “bridging” concept where the owner hires a consultant (usually an architect) to establish the criteria that the design-builder will have to satisfy both in the detailed design and the actual construction of the project.
For more information on the AIA documents—including a free sample and a relationship diagram, go to www.aia.org/contractdocs/AIAB103823 and for additional information from Schinnerer on the AIA design-build documents read our Management Advisory on the subject.