The role of the Design Advisor, or Design Monitor, has emerged in order to achieve higher quality standards from Design and Build contracts. The process of D&B transfers decisions from the client to the contractor, with the original Design Team often ‘novated’ to the contractor. The advantages of D&B include access to the contractor’s supply chain and transfer of risk, but can in certain instances result in the loss of the design quality.
The client can appoint an Employer’s Agent to oversee the delivery process and also a Clerk of Works to report on workmanship, but neither of these professionals has specific skills in design. The information provided to the contractor is much less than under a traditional contract and many of the materials and techniques are left to the interpretation of the contractor and his specialist sub-contractors.
With the implementation of a Design Advisor, a skilled designer (often a member of the original Design Team) remains as an agent of the client and is available to advise on issues including suggested specifications and how the contractor’s interpretation of the design matches the original intentions. In order for this to work, a specific process of producing tender information is required with emphasis placed on providing information which describes the ‘design intent’ while allowing the contractor and his team to develop this further.
Design Advisor is a service which is tailored to the requirements of individual projects. It can vary from providing occasional advice, through to carrying out site visits and attending contractor design meetings and should be considered from the early stages of a project.