By: Brian Perlberg, Executive Director of the CONSENSUSDOCS Coalition
July 19, 2023

Delegated design is when the lead design professional, an architect or engineer, delegates a portion of design responsibility to the builder. Standard construction documents have traditionally addressed this issue in a rudimentary fashion. The updated ConsensusDocs now provide more details and procedures for design development, approval, and design coordination with the overall project design to better address delegated design.

ConsensusDocs’ new delegated design provisions recognize that a delegated design must meet the applicable standard of care for design but that such design cannot be relied upon to be perfect. The AIA A201 general conditions document, inadequately addresses delegated design. However, one thing that is clear in AIA contracts is that an architect is protected from inaccuracies in a delegated design because an architect can fully rely upon the accuracy of a delegated design produced by a contractor’s design professional. In contrast, an owner can only rely upon the accuracy of its architect’s design documents to meet the applicable standard of care, which has been recognized to have an acceptable error rate. These inconsistent standards produced by the AIA contract documents are unfair to an owner and insulate an architect from liability while protecting their authority. The new ConsensusDocs require design coordination between the project’s overall design and the delegated design elements. The updates also provide a consistent standard of care for these design elements for delegated design.

Learn more about ConsensusDocs Upcoming Updates to Its Most Used Contracts, click here.