Canadian Consulting Engineer

ACEC speaks out on design-build

ACEC does not endorse CCA/ RAIC/CSC Design-build Documents 14 and 15.In working with the Canadian Construction Association, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and Construction Specifications ...

January 1, 2001   Canadian Consulting Engineer

ACEC does not endorse CCA/ RAIC/CSC Design-build Documents 14 and 15.

In working with the Canadian Construction Association, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and Construction Specifications Canada to develop a standard design-build agreement, our objectives were to protect the interests of consulting engineers, promote delivery of the highest project quality and limit the occurrence of disputes and claims between the parties in the design-build process.

ACEC does not believe that the documents achieved these objectives and therefore has not endorsed them in their current form. The documents have nonetheless been endorsed by CCA, RAIC and CSC and you can expect to see the new 2000 version in the market by now. They will not be called CCDC documents because they do not have ACEC’s endorsement.

ACEC believes that the current documents create a conflict of interest for the consulting engineer when working as the design-builder’s consultant and increase the engineer’s liability by leaving an implied duty of care to the owner. The risks to the consulting engineer when working as the design-builder’s consultant are greater when the owner is not knowledgeable or adequately represented.

For those interested in more detail please visit the ACEC web-site and refer to the legal opinion on the documents written by Steve Stieber of Stieber Berlach Gibbs. The opinion is intended for your information only. Please contact and rely only on your own legal counsel for advice relative to specific design-build projects you may be involved with that use documents 14 and 15.

As a general rule, members should consider the following:

Do I understand and accept the extent of my responsibilities and liabilities under the contract?

Do I know the client and the design-builder and have I worked with them successfully before?

Do I agree with the client’s and the design-builder’s expectations on quality control?

Is there a clear and complete statement of requirements for the project?

Is there an owner’s consultant and are the owner’s responsibilities consistent with my view of good design-build project delivery?

Is the owner knowledgeable in the design-build process?

Am I prepared to accept redesign costs at my own expense?

Is there a payment certifier or am I being asked to certify the amount of money the design-builder should be paid?

Is the overall risk of the work acceptable to me?

If you have any comments, positive or negative, to offer from your own personal or corporate experience with design-build as the owner, owner’s consultant, design-builder or design-builder’s consultant, please contact Mr. Richard Roulx, Manager, Government Relations and Business Practices, at the ACEC National Office in Ottawa at rroulx@acec.ca.


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