Design-Assist

Design-assist as utilized by Clark Construction Company improves quality and maintain costs. The process is best used when a unique solution is needed for a project involving a specialty trade, fabrication or building method.

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CMU’s Biosciences Building is utilizing the design-assist approach.

How does it work? In design-assist, the owner has in hand up front, a clear statement of the project and the work required, including scope, goals, budget and schedule. Once that is set and an architect is assigned, the Clark Team partners with the architect to do research and write specifications. The specifications and research is for the use of the contracted design-assist contractor, if the person who helps develop the documentation does not meet the budget determined in phase one the documentation can be used by another contractor.

Design-assist is based on the premise that engaging the construction team in the design process benefits the overall project. It is intended to improve cost, timing, constructability, quality and value. If a trade contractor has an idea that will save time or money, why not hear about it during the design phase rather than wait until construction is underway or, perhaps, never hear about it because the contractor was never asked? Also, many design issues can be “nipped in the bud” with design-assist because they can be discussed and resolved simply during the design phase instead of in the field during construction when the stakes, especially in terms of time and cost, are much higher. As a result, design-assist promises fewer RFIs, change orders, building code issues and other issues with the plans and specifications.