is “design alternates” a A201 term (Handbook Question Section 2; I 1)

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    Jonathan Chertok

    i guess i should say this question is for a question in the Handbook Section 2...

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    David Kaplan

    Jonathan,

    You would only want to "reduce scope" when the budget is significantly over, meaning the only way this job is getting back into the Owner's budget is to provide the Owner with less of their requirements and/or less of a building.  This would be like reducing the size of the building, or taking out 2 exam rooms when you wanted 5.  Major changes.  Major changes late in the game are a headache for everyone and should only be considered as a last resort.  Reducing scope would involve significant revisions to everyone's drawings, which means more time on our end and the consultants' end, and possibly change orders from consultants who then tell us "who's paying us for these changes this late in the game?" 

    Design Alternates are a good option for when you're within say 10 or 15% of the desired budget number, because usually those alternates, if in fact accepted, will get the job back into the required budget number.  Design Alternates require less time on everyone's end too - often they can be handled simply with notes such as "Base Bid: Solid surface countertops.  Deduct Alternate #1: Plastic laminate countertops."  Or even on a floor plan, you'd point to a piece of millwork and say "Base Bid: construct new millwork. Deduct Alternate #2: eliminate millwork entirely."  Simple enough - doesn't require too much more than that.  They are often things that the owner can say to themselves, "Ok, if I don't build that now, I can live with that.  I'll do it later."

    As you know, we are required to prepare and update the budget at each phase of design.  If in fact everyone has done their job correctly along the way of the entire process, the situation of having a significant budget overage at the end of CD’s should not happen.  The budget overage that would require something as drastic as reducing the scope of project would really be realized very early on, during Schematic Design likely

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    hi david,
    so “design alternates” is basically a generic or colloquial term for ADD ALTERNATES or VE (in the form of DEDUCTS) built into the bid?

    and “Reduced Scope” implies (presumably) drawing required alterations to the program that have not been incorporated into the drawings previously?

    THANK YOU!

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    David Kaplan

    Jonathan,

    Yes for design alternates.  An alternate can either be an ADD or a DEDUCT, depending on course if when accepted, it adds money to the job or saves money on the job.  Yes, they are built into the Bid.  The reason it is advantageous to include them in the drawings up front is that you will get a price for them from all the GC's bidding on the job.  Using the solid surface countertop vs. plastic laminate countertop example, if you put that in as an Alternate in the CD's, everyone bidding on the job will give you that price for the savings.  If you instead were to decide to make this change during construction, well then you only have the GC who is hired for the job giving you that price and it won't be competitive.

    "Reduced Scope" is not intended to be some AIA-defined terminology if that's what you're getting at.  In the framework of this specific question, it is intended to imply a major reduction in the scope of work required for the project, that up until now was currently included yes.  But if there's a big budget bust realized towards the end when your drawings are like 95% done already, removing that scope is significant and affects everyone's work.  Using this as an option should only be entertained if the budget issues cannot be overcome with other less-impactful changes, such as including Alternates.

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    Jonathan Chertok (Edited )

    ok. i found “design alternates” to be vague. it felt like it could include Reduced Scope (which i understand to by a programmatic change). whereas Deduct Alternates or Deducts or similar teminology would not be confusing. so i was partly wondering is “Design Alternates” was a common (or legally defined) industry term or if it is more of a generic type descriptor.
    obviously i got this one wrong - in part thinking this is not a good term and i sometimes see Reduced Scope built into the plans as a specific Alternate for this bid so clients can add or remove this program item as a anticipatory design process.
    i guess when i tried to drill down on why i got it wrong i felt “Desifn Alternates” is poorly )or not) defined unless i am missing something.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi david
    on the phone and i can’t correct typos.
    i guess if “design alternates” has a defined definition i wanted to be sure i checked fit out. if not i think “Bid Alternates” would be a clearer way to ask this question IMHO.

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    David Kaplan

    I see what you're saying.  Yeah, Bid Alternates would've been clearer.  If you see the word "alternate," I would say to you that you can safely assume they mean actual Bid Alternates that you would identify in a set of drawings like we've discussed.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    hi david
    well - just thanks a ton again. i guess i want to “overthink” these while i am studying so when i am in a test situation i am not thinking at all.
    ; > ]
    this is almost impossible to do by yourself without some really intelligent, patient and thoughtful help.
    again regards and THANKS

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