Jeff Haber (right) moderated a session on delegated design with panelists: (from left to right) Roberto Bicchiarelli, Jacob Gaddis and Steve Siciliani.

Delegated design and the benefits it can offer contract glaziers was covered in several sessions during the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference, taking place in Nashville, Tenn. Vic McConnell with Smith Cashion & Orr PLC discussed related contract and negation issues. Later, Jeff Haber with W&W Glass led a panel discussion that focused on opportunities it can provide for contract glaziers.

Seek legal advice when necessary. Those are some words from McConnell that opened his session, which focused on contract terms and managing risk, particularly as it relates to delegated design, which, he explained, is different than design assist in that it does not transfer legal liability. Likewise, in a design build project, 100% of the design responsibility is transferred.

The keys to success, he said, are carefully drafting a contract and understanding the contract.

Some red flag clauses to be aware of, he said, include scope, flow down, indemnity, insurance, limitation of liability and warranty.

With the scope, the design criteria and performance criteria need to be communicated clearly. “There is not a more important clause in delegated design,” he said.

During the delegated design panel discussion, Haber offered that a comparison of this practice is different than design assist. Panelists included Jacob Gaddis from United Architectural Metals; Steve Siciliani from Woodbridge Glass; and Roberto Bicchiarelli from Josef Gartner USA.

Delegated design, Haber said, is reallocating design responsibility, traditionally within the scope of the architect of record, to a contractor or specialty contractor. In design assist, this is a procurement method whereby one or more subcontractors are engaged prior to the completion of the design by the architect and engineer to collaborate and mitigate cost and schedule issues for the client.

“You’re responsible for your whole system,” explained Haber. “If you manage properly you can identify collisions and conflicts and work them out in advance.”

The benefits of delegated design include tighter coordination with surrounding trades; fewer cost and schedule overruns; and the owner will receive a smoother permitting process.

Gaddis offered an overview of the process his company uses and how it’s integrated into the design process.

“We are trying to eliminate duplicate information that’s often not coordinated properly, which increases risk,” he said. Integrated BIM Collaboration provides a single source for detail development and allows them to be proactive and review details in 3D context.

“We can deal with design work as it happens,” he said. “It’s eliminating all those areas that cause risk; it’s eliminating duplication.”

Siciliani continued the discussion with a focus on subcontractor insurance execution.

He explained that with this process, the subcontract agreement will place responsibility on them, as the delegated design subcontractor, to provide a “code compliant façade while meeting the performance and design criteria set forth in the contract documents.”

He said it’s critical to have the appropriate insurance if it’s a delegated design subcontract. He advised that if a company does not have professional liability insurance, to make sure the one doing the design has the right insurance.

Bicchiarelli offered a look at two project case histories, explaining that every job they do is a delegated job.

“We are always responsible and liable for the full extent of our design,” he said, pointing to the Tower at PNC Plaza as an example, which has a façade that becomes part of the mechanical system.

Haber wrapped up the session, noting that the presenters captured what’s been covered here over the past two days, including BIM and technology and how that’s being integrated in the process, as well as insurance requirements.

Haber added that the glaziers today are not getting finished documents like they used to. That’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, but just the fact that the systems have become so complex “and it’s great when we can become a resource for the architects and offer the services and educate the industry of what’s available and what’s possible … [with] delegated design, you just need to manage that process well.”

The BEC Conference concludes today in Nashville. Stay tuned to for more reports from the event.