Design and Build Contracts – Increase your profit

Published by Paul Heming | Date 23 May 2018

A Design and Build Contract is a contract where the Main Contractor offers to design and build a project for a price that includes both the design and construction.

Working on a Design and Build Contract can be difficult with the added responsibility of the design. If you’ve ever sat in design meetings with an Architect discussing comments or sifted through loads of drawings covered in comments, I’m sure you’ve wondered if there’s an easier way… well I think, there is.

The standard form JCT is written to be a balanced document and is designed to protect both sides. If unamended, it protects you and I’ve written some tips to help you manage situations where you have Design Team comments on your drawings.

Schedule 1, clause 2, of the JCT reads as follows:

“The Employer shall return one copy of the Contractor’s [Drawings] to the Contractor marked A, B or C provided that a document shall be marked B or C, ONLY where the Employer considers that it is not in accordance with the Contract.”

What does this mean in plain English?

“When the Client/Architect returns your Drawings to you they must be marked either A, B or C Status. The Drawings must always be given A Status, unless the Client/Architect has clearly found a reason why what you’ve drawn is not in accordance with the Contract.”

With this in mind, any comment on your drawing must therefore explain exactly why your drawing is not in accordance with the Contract. If it doesn’t the comment is irrelevant and can be ignored / rejected.

Lightbulb moment? Take a look at the example below….

I’ve extracted a comment which I received on a drawing. At the time I didn’t know how to respond and the drawing was given a B Status and we lost time and money re-submitting our design.

Comments like this are very common and I’m sure you’ve seen similar. The panel could be in louvres but we’d designed it as per the contract so the comment was wrong. More to the point, the comment doesn’t explain exactly why the drawing is not in accordance with the Contract and therefore is wrong.

To save time and money, my answer should have been:

Yes, this panel can be louvres; however, this is a variation to the Contract and therefore requires Instruction if this is how you wish to proceed. This change will have both time and cost implications.

I learnt the hard way and lost time and precious budget – don’t do the same. To read more on this topic and to see some more examples, download the full ebook here.


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