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Guest Blog: Design Build Definition; Ours or Theirs?

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Mar 06,2012 @ 05:00 AM

Robert Wright Guest Blogger


One Person's Opinion: Robert Wright

 His Dad a civil engineer, Rob has grown up around construction sites in Canada from a young age. In the early 1990’s, he and his Dad set up a construction company and took on projects in the commercial and residential fields.  In 1994, he joined and took over Citadel Renovations in Ottawa. He has been active in the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association for many years, including holding the position of Renovation Council Chair in the past and now sits on the Health and Safety Committee.  He also continues to volunteer at Algonquin College on the Advisory Committee of the Building Construction Technician program.


Design Build Definition

Design build discussion and conversationEveryone seems to be getting on the design build bandwagon lately.  Strange, I was talking about it and trying figure it out over 20 years ago.  The more things change…..

What is design build anyway?

I have in past newsletters suggested my thoughts on what design build is.  Basically its a process where the homeowner(in this case); the builder, and design pro in a collaborative process ensure the homeowner receives value for dollars invested; and the design to project completion experience is pleasant.

This seems to me to be a valid starting point for the design build definition.  We would all look at the various parts of this and based on our experiences have some comments about how to improve this – usually to have our viewpoint take priority.  This conversation is ongoing and I would strongly suggest that our professional associations should get involved in this conversation and set the standard.

This is not a new idea; the architects do it; the engineers do it; doctors do it; and everyone’s favorite whipping boys - lawyers do it also.  I have long considered myself a professional, and think its high time that, we in the construction industry and the renovation industry in particular, need to be considered professional and that what we do is an honorable way to earn a living.

So what is the alternative?  Have something imposed on us...

Goverment regulations affect remodelersWho is going to impose this definition on us?  The least evil choice is going to be the insurance industry.  At least they have contact with us, try to understand us, take our money and provide a service in return.  You can also sit down with your insurance provider and discuss how you can cut costs and increase protection.  This allows us to come to an agreement we can live with.

Who else is going to impose on us?  Courts – they don’t like us, because they don’t understand us.  What makes perfect sense to us makes no sense to a judge and to most lawyers.  So what happens when you get an unhappy client and a lawyer that doesn’t understand construction?  A whole lot of pain for you, and a new way to do things for all of us because our lawyer said so.

Worse case scenario is to have the government impose it on us.  Do I need to say anything but lead? 

So what can you do about this? 

Get involved and insist that your HBA knows about it, gets it sorted and ensures that it is accepted.  Its about your controlling the situation and not the other way around.

Topics: Defining Design/Build, Guest Blogs, Opinions from Design/Builders