Design Assist Difference

We are unique because we take on responsibility for the design and budget of large scopes of work.  Major electical and mechanical companies will take on this type of Design Assist (DA) role, but few trade contractors have the confidence, experience or stamina to manage a soup-to-nuts Design Assist engagement.

Morinwood has completed multiple DA engagements.  Since Design-Build has become the default delivery method for Infrastructure BC we are typically asked to contribute to multiple budget rounds as the project is built up from concept, through design development, all the way to IFC drawings over a span of several years.  We are fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute our knowledge of our trade to help in this planning process.  In the end, it helps ensure that the right details are chosen and that the interior finishing budget is kept in check.

DA relies on ample communication between the design teams and the construction teams to ensure that project planning accounts for the real-world issues that can arise.  Not to mention it also requires a delicate political touch as frequently owners need to be told they cannot have everything they want.  Instead, we get to balance the overall budget of the project and move that value around between buckets to put the dollars where they go to best use and remove them from where the details are overkill.

The end result is that DA creates a project environment where the contractor and designer work together to solve construction problems while they are still only on paper. Design-assist contractors use their expertise to identify areas in the plan that may be difficult or impossible to execute. They can use their knowledge of construction technology to suggest newer/different/better materials, and they can communicate with sub-contractors to devise more efficient systems and construction timelines based on local labor markets, weather considerations, and delivery insights.

However, the design-assist method of construction adds another layer to the design process, and not every building contractor (or designer) is up for the challenge. Design-assist relationships require excellent communication skills and a willingness for each party to learn and accept revisions from the other. Because designing and building a project was traditionally a process in which there was no cross-over between the parties responsible for planning and execution, not all contractors or designers are educated on how best to communicate with one another.

Contact our estimating department to if we can add our design assist services to your team.  estimating@morinwood.ca