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Project Management

DBIA Takeaways: Best practices for the best results

Take a look at Henderson Engineers' lessons learned

By Austin Allen December 9, 2019
Photo courtesy: Henderson Engineers

Following the recent Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) Design-Build Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, our Henderson experts learned of new ideas, innovations, and tips on implementing design-build concepts. Take a look at our lessons learned below.

Production of Bridging Documents Not Suggested as a Best Practice

As part of best practices with design-build teams, producing bridging documents is not recommended. In many cases, they are never used, or even worse, lead the design-build team to incorrect or non-code compliant outcomes. Better practice is to utilize a progressive design-build model and select the design and construction team based on qualifications, so the entire team has a vested interest in producing quality design and ultimately a quality project from the outset.

Team Continuity is Crucial

Unilaterally, continuity of the design-build team from cradle to grave is critical to the success of projects.  Switching members of the team in favor of design or construction experts relieves team members of accountability, jeopardizing the ultimate success of the project.

Project Dispute Resolution

Design-build teams and owners must recognize that errors and omissions by any party should be handled consistently within each party’s scope. Design time for the error or omission should be borne by the design team, construction cost by the construction team, as this is the specific scope of both parties.

Implementing Teaming Agreements Positions for Success

Despite DBIA’s recommendation to implement teaming agreements on all design-build projects which clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each party, very few design-build teams are implementing these arrangements. A well-defined teaming agreement can be the difference between the success and/or failure of some or all parties of the design-build team.

Select Trade Partners at Beginning Based on Qualifications

In certain cases, some design-build teams wait until the construction document phase is at 100% of the design and then bid out the trades. This is not recommended as best practice by DBIA because it erodes any potential benefit of collaboration. Instead, the trade partners should also be selected by qualifications with the design and budget developed by the entirety of the design-build team.

These takeaways provide just a glimpse into the benefits of the design-build process.


This article originally appeared on Henderson Engineers’ website. Henderson Engineers is a CFE Media content partner. 


Austin Allen
Author Bio: Austin Allen is one of our rising stars at Henderson Engineers, climbing the ranks over the past decade. He also literally moved for Henderson; first to our Phoenix office and then further west where he opened the Los Angeles office in 2014. An associate vice president and director of Los Angeles operations, he's a big-picture-kind-of guy. Austin leads the LA office by example, intent to build the same Henderson culture found nationwide while incorporating a little SoCal style.