Criteria consultant's (A/E) role in "Bridging Method"



  • Please elaborate more, in Bridging D&B we have 2 Arch. Owner's Design Arch (for concept, SD, DD & Performance Specs) and DB's Arch for CD. CCA moist likely will be like normal D&B under the owner.

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    Michael Ermann

    The architecture firm I described in this video had been hired as the criteria consultant looking at feasibility for the dorm ….would the demo/construction project have gone forward, that firm would have transitioned to become the bridging consultant to the owner setting forth the criteria for the design build firm (hired later) to meet.—Michael Ermann, Amber Book creator

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    Michael Ermann

    Your question got me thinking, and I created a practice question on this topic. . . hopefully it will help you. . . 

    A state government has hired an architect to serve as a criteria consultant on a Department of Motor Vehicles building. Should the project go forward, the owner will execute it through design-build project delivery. Which best describes the criteria consultant’s role in the bridging method?


    At the owner’s convenience, the criteria consultant will go on to become the design-build firm and both design and construct the project; if the owner chooses not to hire the criteria consultant as the design-build firm, the owner may put the project out to bid for others


    The criteria consultant enters into contracts with both the owner (as a consultant) and with the design-build firm (as an owner’s agent)

    The criteria consultant will create the RFP to be sent out to design-build firms

    Scroll way down for the answer




























    Answer: The criteria consultant will create the RFP to be sent out to design-build firms



    When an owner hires a design-build firm, she gets the efficiency of

    Working with a single entity: “Jerry, I know you’ve finished CDs, but I’d like you and I to meet (without the need of others) to discuss the cost of adding more customer service windows, so the public doesn’t have to wait in line for so long.”

    Working with a single contract: Only one round with the lawyers

    Working faster: No bidding (which takes longer than you’d think, especially in public jobs); and less back-and-forth between contractor and architect (because they are the same business entity)

    Less blame-game: No builder in design-build gripes, “If the architect’s drawings were worth a shit, we’d be on schedule to open in October.”

    But the downside, and it is a significant one, is that the DMV in this example doesn’t have their own architect versed in the design and construction process to help them determine how many customer service windows there should be beforehand! The only architect in design-build is in bed with the contractor.

    The spectrum of owner sophistication in matters of construction is yawning. Some savvy owners have their own corporate construction divisions and open a new building every other week. Others, like a state DMV, likely don’t have deep comfort with the process and are without an architect to guide them through it (because in design-build, the architect and owner are one entity trying to build the cheapest building and charge the most money to build it). Enter the criteria consultant (also sometimes called the owner’s consultant, the owner representative, the owner advisor, the owner agent, the criteria professional, or A/E1). That role, often filled by a licensed architect, allows the owner to feel represented in the process, because creating a proper program, establishing a construction budget and timeline, issuing an RFQ or RFP, identifying which respondents have the required qualifications and the best proposals, and negotiating a contract with the design-build firm that will actually design and construct the structure is not something you as a taxpayer want your DMV to be doing alone. Indeed, many states require a state agency to hire a criteria consultant for public projects that engage design-build project delivery.

    In short, the criteria consultant develops the program, the performance criteria, and some of the specifications.

    After the design-build firm has been hired, often (but not always) the criteria consultant stays on as a “bridging consultant,” which could include administering project reporting systems, communications with the public and press, confirming that project deviations are consistent with the contract that was signed between owner and design-builder. . . . all the way through commissioning.

    The scope of the criteria consultant or bridging consultant may be limited, or may be wide-ranging, and will be spelled out in the contract between the owner and the consultant. (Click <<here>> and <<here>>).

    If it seems to you like the criteria consultant and bridging consultant are kind of like the CM for design-build, you’d be right. And if it seems like their roles are not standardized, but rather project-specific, you’d also be right. Be okay with positive ambiguity.

    But even with that ambiguity, the criteria consultant (who likely will become the bridging consultant once the design-build firm is hired) serves in an advisory role and doesn’t act as the owner’s agent; they can’t act on the owner’s behalf to sign a contract with the design-build firm in her name. Nor does the criteria consultant or bridging consultant become the builder the way a CM as-constructor can. The bridging role involves holding the relatively un-accountable design-builder accountable. . . It’s not about replacing the builder.

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