eForum xChange: What is the Value of Architecture - Design Assist November 2023

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The meeting began with announcements about COAA's 30th anniversary plans, including a survey about workload statistics, and the upcoming fall conference in Orlando. Janice from Carnegie Mellon introduced the concept of Design Assist, which involves bringing the construction team into the design process before taking the project out to bid. The group discussed the differences between Design Assist and Integrated Product Delivery (IPD), with some members sharing that they use IPD on larger capital projects. The conversation also touched on the challenges of procurement and contracting when implementing Design Assist.

Don Lynch and Janice L Held discussed the Design Assist process and requirements for their projects. They engage contractors in the Dd pricing and package stage and require a detailed plan to get back to target design if budgets are not met. They also have opt-out clauses if the contractor cannot meet the target design or MWE requirements.

The group discussed the use of shared savings in construction contracts, with some members having experience in using it with CMs and others not having utilized it at all. They also discussed the challenges of incentivizing all parties involved and the impact of economic changes on the process.

Ryan, Glenn, Janice, and John Zahor discussed the advantages and disadvantages of different project delivery methods, including design-build, design-assist, and CMR. They shared their experiences with these methods and offered advice for owners considering them. Janice raised the question of how architects deal with design assist and shared her experience with resistance.

However, she also shared a positive experience where early involvement of contractors led to a successful building design. Howie Ferguson and Janice L Held discussed the challenges of awarding design assist contracts, particularly in the early stages of a project when there is little to bid on. They both advocated for a best value approach, which takes into account both cost and technical factors, and allows for a more nuanced evaluation of potential team members.

The group discussed the process of approving contracts and subcontractors, including the role of the Cm and the owner, the use of a modified AIA contract, and the right of refusal for certain subs. Janice L Held explained that the legal team approved the language in the contract passed through by the Cm, but the owner relied on the Cm contract since they cannot control it. Lynch, Don added that the owner has the right to review the Cm's recommendations for subs and can eliminate someone if necessary, but they are responsible for the delta if they go against the best value recommendation. The group emphasized the importance of mitigating risk and opening up the market to help people around them.