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In a design and built contract,I ha

In a design and built contract,I ha

In a design and built contract,I ha

In a design and built contract,I have several questions
1. What are the roles of the engineer who represents the client?

2.If something is not done accordingly, what actions should the engineer(client's rep) take?

3.Is it a must that the contractor engage a consulting engineer?

Hope this thread carries some credibilities than my previous ones!!

RE: In a design and built contract,I ha

in a design-build project, engineer's client is the contractor rather than an architect.

contractor is retained by the owner who funds the project.  contractor then assembles a design team consisting of architect, structural, MEP etc.

contractor may or may not have their in-house engineering team to oversee the structural engineer's progress.  contractor also has decision making power which will favor structural over architect to make the construction easier, cheaper and faster.

if the contractor's rep makes a mistake, it would be prudent for the structural engineer to point them out and resolve as soon as possible before "major" conflicts arise later on.

often, it is faster paced than the typical projects.

i am not sure how many questions of yours i answered but i hope it was helpful.

good night.

RE: In a design and built contract,I ha

The "Contract" between the owner and the contractor is a bulky document and defines each and every part of the project, responsibilities and liabilities.
Usually, contractor gets the designs and drawings done by consultant or his own design team. These designs are submitted to the client for approval before construction. The client's engineer are responsible for approving the details and see that only approved plans are being executed. If something is not approved and built, client's engineer do not pass the bill and stop payment. Whether a consultant is employed will depend on whether it was spwecified in the contract or not. A contractor, not equipped with a design team will also hire a consultant.

RE: In a design and built contract,I ha

In order to answer your question, let me make an assumption.  It appears you are asking from the viewpoint of a contractor's representative engineer, overseeing another engineering firm.  If this is the case, and the hired consultant makes a mistake - one that either costs the contractor time or money, then the rep. engineer has a responsibility to point this out to the engineer and ask for clarification/revision as required to correct the mistake.  I would, for the sake of good relations, not involve heavy hitters of the contractor to force anyone's hand in making changes.
Also, do not correct the mistake yourself.  It is your responsibility to ask for the correction.  Maybe the consultant is right and you are wrong.  It has been known to happen.
On your last question, should the contractor hire an engineer (consultant).  An engineer is only necessary where required by law to sign and seal drawings and perform the required calculations to assure structural soundness.  Some things can be done emperically, and since the contractor assumes full design and construction liability (on behalf of the designers, his clients), then they may choose not to have an engineer look at something.  But the contractor then carries the responsibility the engineer assumes for protecting the public's safety.
Hope this answers your questions.  If not, please clarify.

RE: In a design and built contract,I ha

Thanks for your replies.
Actually, I am asking from the viewpoint of OWNER's representative engineer.

From your reply , who is the client, is it the owner. If so, is the client's engineer responsible for approving the design including all the liabilities thereafter.?

RE: In a design and built contract,I ha

Maybe this can help a little,

Quote from:

Modern Steel Construction / June 2000
Design/Build: Good for
Owners, Good for Designers
An overview of the latest buzzword

  "This method has been touted as beneficial to building owners formany reasons: controlled schedule
and budget, early knowledge of costs,improved risk management andreduced administrative burden. Further, the design/build entity must settle all questions internally, thus generating less finger-pointing and
refereeing for the owner. However,despite limited publicity on the matter,design/build is an asset of equal
magnitude for engineers as well.

Engineers cannot downplay the importance of employing a system that is advantageous to owners. After all, engineering is a service industry,so if it benefits the client, it benefits us.

But what’s really in it for engineers?
The engineer utilizing design/build truly becomes part of
the process from concept to construction.
Because engineers must collaborate with the constructor and
owner, they produce more buildable designs. Working directly with the construction team allows engineers to
more clearly see the project from the builders’ point of view. This facilitates communication and innovation;
thus the entire team benefits from the mutually beneficial relationship."

The Bottom Line
It is clear from our experience
and from reported industry trends
that design/build is a viable method
for a multitude of projects and personnel.
It provides countless advantages
to engineers, but the true
advantage of the method is its focus
on the needs of the client.
Design/build is a win-win-win situation
—a win for the owner, the contractor
and the designers.
Mark Thompson, P.E., C.S.P.,
C.P.E., is President of LJB Engineers
& Architects located in Dayton, OH.
For more information about LJB
Engineers & Architects, please visit
our web site at www.ljbinc.com. "



RE: In a design and built contract,I ha


Dont take what I say as a generalisation accross the globe and accross the projects. Contract conditions are different for each project. What I can say is only from my perspective of being a part of a contractor company, which designs(inhouse) and builds for Design, Built & Transfer projects in India.

In most of the projects, the approval by the client (owner) in final and binding on us. Clearly the owner is "responsible" for studying our designs and approving them. Our responsibility is limited to design and build in a timely manner acceptable to the owner & the specifications.

However new trends continue to emerge. In some new projects, though the approval is by the client, we will still have to provide a sort of "performance guarantee" for say one year during which any break down is our responsibility.

From the owner's view, most of the responsibility lies with them about sealing the designs. Thereafter they are responsible to 'see' that construction is done as per drawings and specs. Afterall it is their project. In some cases, mistakes are done on contractors part. The only action owner take in such situation is to punish him by blacklisting for future projects. So you see inspite of owner being legally responsible, practically contractor is as serious about the project as anyone else.

I dont know what exact information you are looking for. What I guess is that you are working with the owner and dont know your duties and responsibilities. If thats so, you are asking the wrong people out here because we do not know the specifics of your project. Study the contract documents and ask your superiors. This will help you more than what we can.


RE: In a design and built contract,I ha

I don’t want to get off on a rant here but..

In design build it is customary for SOMEONE to act on behalf of the owner. This someone may be in house architect or engineering staff or an outside consultant hired for the task. The make-up of the owner’s team depends on how often this type of work is done. For example a large retail firm who builds a lot of new stores would have an in house capability and a good generic design that would only have to be modified to suit local site conditions and codes. A firm that does not do a lot of construction and is building a one of type of facility may find it more economical to hire outside consultants for this role.

NEVER assume that because the contractor is required by the contract that you will get what you want with no supervision to the contractor. There is a definite requirement for due diligence in supervising the contractor.  For example if the contractor puts a floor drain directly into the sanitary sewer system he can claim that he did not know that the end user would be dumping hazardous material into the sewer and guess who would be responsible? That’s right the owner would have the liability.

By the time these types of problems are found rectifying them can be very expensive and time consuming.

The contractors prime responsibility is to make as much money as possible on the job.  The owner’s representative is responsible to ensure that the end product meets the owner’s needs as economically as possible. These two responsibilities are in conflict and if one person has both guess what suffers.

The role of the owner’s representative is the same in design build as in conventional design-bid-build. That is to ensure that the owner gets what he paid for and pays for what he gets. The methods to achieve this are different.

In traditional design bid build the owner’s representative controls the design process. He (or she) is responsible for ensuring that the owner’s requirements are built into the detailed design and specifications and that the design and specifications are followed by the construction contractor.  The owner’s representative can also be the design consultant’s project manager. This is however IMHO a conflict of interest and should be avoided as much as possible, but that’s another rant.

In design build the responsibility for the owner’s representative is to ensure that the  contract to the design builder reflects the owner’s needs and that these needs are fully implemented in the final design and also are built correctly.

In the construction phase the owner’s representative should be heavily involved in quality assurance issues. Is all the concrete tested by a qualified person and the cylinders broken in a certified lab? Are all the fire suppression and detection systems fully tested and integrated?  Is the quality of the carpet what was required for the application? Etc.

I was once involved on the periphery of a design build that went bad. From this some valuable lessons were learned at the owner’s considerable expense.

The original statement of work was inadequate. It did not cover such considerations as soundproofing rooms,  quality of interior finishes, standards for communication services. (The client’s end client had some very specific and extensive requirements for communications systems and these were not included into the SOW and hence not into the final product.)

The most important omission was that there was no reference to the building being economical to maintain. This resulted in the design being changed from two large penthouse mechanical systems to 33 small roof top units. The resulting savings were pocketed by the contractor and the owner not only paid a premium for maintenance but the design change allowed the roof structure to be lighter and there is a serious acoustical problem from all the roof top units vibrating. Since the facility involved training and office environments the noise was and still is a serious problem. Balancing the HVAC system is also a nightmare.

 All electrical panels were full and there were no spare circuits anywhere in the building. When the inevitable changes were needed, extensive rewiring was required.

The list goes on and on and on.

The problems were compounded by an owner’s representative who was 2,000 kms away with no authority to act and only able to get to site once a month. The design builder would simply say he was doing it his way and before the owner’s representative could find out and then get the authority to do anything the issue would be moot because it was an accomplished fact and there was no time or budget to reverse any unilateral decisions by the contractor.

On a different project, a sub contractor on one of my jobs was the mechanical sub on this one, there was no requirement to use a limited number of different parts. This project was a mechanical process plant and extensively used conveyor systems. Every conveyor was designed to be as economical as possible to construct and no attention was paid to the number of different spare bearings and parts required. When the owner set up his maintenance system and stocked up on spares a separate warehouse was needed for all the different variety of spare parts. My project was in a plant about 10 times the size of the design build and had a smaller number of different spare parts because it had been a long standing policy of my client to only use a very limited number of different parts.

In design build the danger is to start quickly with a vague statement of the requirement and allow the contractor almost total freedom to meet the requirements in the most economical way , to him, as possible.

Successful design build requires a lot of front end input from the owner. The statement of requirement should be fairly detailed and concentrate on what is important to the owner in the final produce.

1)    Maintenance issues, number of spares quality of original equipment etc.
2)    Quality control issues, require a QC/QA plan and make sure that it if followed.
3)    Usability issues. Things like the soundproofing and special communication requirements, office finishes etc
4)    Authority issues. Someone on the owner’s part needs to be able to make changes and if necessary pay for them if the original statement of work is found not to meet the owner’s needs.  Also who reviews the designs, how long to review the designs and who signs off for the client

Of course that’s just my opinion and I could be wrong.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion

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