Takeaway Lessons from AGC Webinar on Design Delegation

Risk is potentially bad, but also a potential opportunity for your business to grow and prosper. Constructors/General Contractors increasing role in performing design delegation and shared design is such an opportunity.  AGC recently presented a webinar (available in the AGC Store here) that provided participants with many great takeaways and a closer look at how parameters of design must be delegated clearly in all contracts. This webinar provided the following takeaways:
  • BE CLEAR what exactly is being delegated.  Put the parameters of design delegated in your contracts, don’t leave it vague in the specifications
  • Delegated design can be hidden as performance specification and difficult for a Constructor to realize they have design delegation responsibility when pricing out a project.
  • ConsensusDocs standard contract documents, which are endorsed by AGC and 40 other organizations, provides advantages over standard American Institute of Architects (AIA) A201 standard contract
  • ConsensusDocs requires an exhibit to spell out the delegated design where as AIA allows delegated design to just be in the specifications.
  • Delegated design should be clearly be “approved” by the designer of record without “weasel words”
  • ConsensusDocs requires the responsible design professional of record to coordinate the overall design, the AIA A201 does not. Rather, the AIA A201 uses protective language for architect that attempts to shield the architect from coordinating design coordination
  • Constructors can potentially be accused of performing design without a professional license, if delegated design parameters are too broad and vague
  • Delegated design shouldn’t be used as a backstop for design professional of record. The Constructor should be able to rely upon its procured design professional combined with the approval of that design by the design professional of record (the AIA A201 runs counter to this)
  • Terms like “means and methods design” and “shared design” may not have the same meaning for all parties within the industry, furthering the need for clarity
  • Constructors/General Contractors should require errors and omission coverage from your Subcontractor when the Sub is hiring a design profession
  • ConsensusDocs contracts contemplate multiple Subcontractors to potentially share design and require the insurance and liability exposures to be consistent. The AIA A201 structures delegated design risk as if the entire delegated design is being done by one entity.