Continuing to serve as an advocate and resource for design-build project delivery, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has released new model
Continuing to serve as an advocate and resource for design-build project delivery, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) has released new model contracts. The new documents build on DBIA’s 1999 first-edition model contracts, while accommodating design-build participants’ need for more flexibility than a one-size contract provides. The initial release focuses on owner and design-builder documents, including Lump Sum Agreement, Cost Plus with an Option for a GMP Agreement, and General Conditions. DBIA plans to release new subcontractor and design consultant agreements in the fall.
The new documents adopt a menu approach that allows parties to customize contracts to a specific project, offering more than one option to address particular contractual issues. The menu approach enables parties to tackle difficult issues at the outset and arrive at a contract tailored to project parameters and each party’s risk tolerance.
Additionally, the new contracts respond to potentially contentious issues encountered over the last decade of design-build proliferation. A more comprehensive framework, for example, ensures that owner and design-builder expectations on scope of work are more closely aligned. The contracts also guide an owner’s use of prescriptive project specifications in a manner consistent with case law developed over the last 10 years.
Further, industry advances are addressed in criteria related to sustainable design, building information modeling, and electronic data. The documents also provide parties an insurance matrix that can be used in consultation with insurance brokers to determine specific insurance needs.
The number of owners employing the design-build delivery method has exploded; and, industry has a much better understanding of the keys to a successful design-build project, says DBIA National Board Chair Tom Porter. In addition, a body of case law has evolved addressing issues unique to the design-build delivery method. The time is ripe for DBIA to release its next-generation of documents.