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Technician checking duct temperatures. Carbon monoxide monitor at a furnace.

Consultant • Litigation Support • Expert Witness — for issues relating to HVAC • Plumbing • Construction • Forensic Expert

Design / Build Gone Wrong

The design/build method of project delivery is popular because it is seen to save both time and money in the construction process. In many cases, when ethical contractors are employed, results are favorable. There are times, however, due to either cost or schedule pressures, the owner is unsatisfied with the product.

I have been called to consult on some of these. In almost all projects, a professional engineer is hired by the contractor to execute a design, as stamped drawings are required to obtain a building permit. In the best of all worlds, the contractor and engineer, working together, can create a design that provides an excellent, cost effective solution.

Watch out, however, for the design/build solution that responds mostly to cost pressures. Most of my litigation assignments involve in some way a design and implementation that cuts corners to save money. Some that come to mind include a lack of control valves, skimping on insulation, undersizing of pipe and ductwork, and inferior temperature control systems.

When using the design/build method, it is alway a good idea to employ an independent engineer to review the proposed design to make sure that it delivers what is required. Poor system performance is no bargain.

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