file under: Design-Build

Your Design-Build Sensei: An Owner's Advisor

If you plan to undertake design-build delivery for the first time, consider hiring an owner’s advisor to assist you through the process. The ideal advisor has previous experience in the specific type of design-build project you wish to undertake. They will have first-hand knowledge of the technical, operational, construction and programmatic issues you may encounter in delivering the project. You might call them your design-build “sensei.”

There are seven critical ways that an owner’s advisor can help you:

1. Assisting with the request for qualification/proposal (RFQ/RFP) process to select the design-builder. This can include writing the RFQ/RFP, developing selection criteria and sitting on the selection committee. The owner’s advisor will help you through the critical process of procurement.

2. Developing the 10- to 20-percent conceptual design (or the basis of design). This deliverable allows all of the potential designer-builders to start at the same point. If the design-builders do not start with the same conceptual design, the competing proposals will be very difficult for you to effectively compare.

3. Working as an extension of staff throughout the duration of the project. If the project is large enough, you might need to hire dedicated staff to help manage it…unless you have an owner’s advisor aboard. Using an owner’s advisor as an extension of staff allows you to call upon additional resources as the project requires.

4. Performing engineering reviews at the design milestones. An extra set of eyes on the plans will help ensure that they are accurate and meet your specifications. An owner’s advisor provides the expertise to evaluate the design work of your design-build team.

5. Providing value engineering (VE). VE optimizes projects by bringing together a cross-disciplinary team to examine a project and suggest approaches to drive down costs without impacting quality. An owner’s advisor can assemble an independent team of experts to give the project a fresh look.

6. Preparing constructability reviews. Your owner’s advisor can perform a detailed review of completed plans and specifications. Deficiencies, constructability concerns, conflicts or other issues that may impact the project’s construction sequencing, coordination, safety, cost or schedule will be flagged and addressed early, saving time and money.

7. Delivering inspection or field services during construction. Ensuring that the construction site runs efficiently and safely with excellent record-keeping is one of your paramount concerns. An owner’s advisor can provide qualified, certified field staff to steward your project to completion.

Thinking that a design-build sensei might be a good fit for you? Remember to clearly define the owner’s advisor’s role, responsibilities and scope of authority with regard to all parties involved in the project. Also, know that it will still be your job to objectively facilitate discussions that occur during the course of the project. An owner’s advisor can be a highly valuable resource, but in the end, it is your project!

If you would like more information about what an owner’s advisor can do for you, contact us.