Some Contractors Want to Bring More Design Services In-House

pexels-photo-1109541Some Contractors Want to Bring More Design Services In-House

Engineering News-Record (ENR) reports that a growing percentage of contractors plan to increase the use of in house design to better meet the demands of project owners. The article cites The 2019 AGC/FMI Risk Management Survey which notes that 45% of contractors that responded to the survey are planning to perform design work in-house which is a 5% increase over the 2018 survey. Another 25% of respondents said they were considering in the near future bringing design in-house. ENR’s article notes that 92% of respondents to the 2018 survey felt that design documents were less complete than in years past. The article notes several different reasons why design documents may be lacking more crucial information including a “reduction in design time [that] comes when architects and engineers are being asked to do more to meet project requirements, such as energy modeling or integrating advanced systems for sustainability compliance.” The article also notes that “tech-savvy” designers that have little construction knowledge or experience may be contributing to the problem. The ENR article and the AGC/FMI Survey revealed some responses that may indicated the future of project delivery and the relationship between the design and construction team. When asked “How is your firm developing in-house design capabilities?”

• 50% – Hire internal engineer

• 45% – Add members to in-house team

• 42% – Hire internal architects

• 24% – Create a design team

• 24% – Place project manager in design office

• 18% – Acquire design firm

When asked “What are the top reasons for bringing design in-house?”

• 68% – Improve communications with design firms

• 16% – Sell design services

ENR’s article and the survey also noted that professional liability, cultural differences, insurance coverage gaps and lack of experience are among the risk contractors see when bringing design capabilities in-house. As the expectations of project owners increase and projects themselves get more complex, the need for more and better communications as well as finding different ways to collaborate throughout the design and construction process will be required to meet project owners’ expectations. For additional info please read ENR’s article Contractors Increase Use of In-House Design to Better Manage Project Demands.

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