Canadian Consulting Engineer

A letter clarifying ACEC’s position on design-build contract documents

To: Canadian Consulting Engineer magazineI write to clarify the position of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada with respect to the development of standard design-build contract document...

June 1, 2000   Canadian Consulting Engineer

To: Canadian Consulting Engineer magazine

I write to clarify the position of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada with respect to the development of standard design-build contract documents and pursuant to the April 5 letter to you from Mr. Barry Lester, P.Eng. (see page 10)

Since 1997, CCA Document 14 has been in the marketplace and is being used by member firms on design-build projects. CCA 14 does not enjoy the endorsement of ACEC.

For the past two years, ACEC has been seeking improvements to CCA 14 through negotiation with RAIC and CCA. Our impression is that RAIC’s interest in this process has been to preserve in design-build projects the architects’ traditional role in a conventional building’s project. We believe that CCA has been intent on retaining CCA 14’s focus on a contractor led one-stop shop for the owner. ACEC has been committed to ensuring that the design professional does not face greater liability when working under the terms of CCA Document 14 as the consultant to the design-builder than he would face in a traditional project delivery arrangement when he works for the owner.

At the present time, the ACEC Board of Directors has asked for a legal review to be conducted on CCA Document 14 to determine whether the ACEC negotiating position has been achieved or not. While that legal review is not expected to be completed before the third week of June, preliminary legal comments point to the potential for greater liability based on the consultant’s responsibilities to the design-builder as defined in CCA Document 14, and his duty of care responsibilities to the Owner. It is unclear at this time whether in fact this greater potential liability relates to the contract as currently defined, or with the very nature of the design-build process.

It has been important for ACEC to participate in the establishment of a standard design-build contract document for the industry to aid our members who actively pursue design-build work. After legal review, if the Board of Directors does not believe that it is in our industry’s best interests to endorse CCA 14 as a CCDC document, it will not do so.

Our approach and objectives with respect to Document 14 have been clear and consistent since the beginning of this protracted process — to safeguard the interests of our members by negotiating improvements to the document that is currently in use.

Timothy I. Page, President

Association of Consulting Engineers of Canada, Ottawa


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