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Your Design-Build Coach: 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 the delivery process. You might call them your design-build coach, helping you win big on your next project.  

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, constructibility 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 coach 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!

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