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13 January 2023
Apurva Jain

Why Consider CDP During the Building Design Process

Developing flawless design can lead to a near-flawless product, and when that product is a building, there’s more than aesthetics to consider. Building functionality takes prime importance, as buildings need to, on a basic level, consider human lives and the quality of those lives inside the building. For the building design process to run smooth, it is thus pertinent to understand the contractor’s design portion, or CDP. This may include the overall responsibility for flawless HVAC mechanical engineering, MEP drafting services, electrical design services and BIM services.

In any building, at any time, potential defects may occur that may harm individuals or property. This can be with relation to design, materials or labour.

So, what can go wrong?

  • Poor design, materials or workmanship
  • A failure in the structure, or structural defect, during construction
  • Physical or financial damage to a person or property
  • Unfulfilled owner expectations
Construction Defects

Although there may be many factors involved, the three basic types of construction defects are:

Design Defects

When a design professional produces inaccurate and disorganised construction documents, design defects may result from errors or omissions. Frequently, this would require redesign or component replacement.

Material Defects

Damaged or insufficient building material may result in material defects. A manufacturing defect may go undetected until the materials or products have been integrated into the construction, making them expensive to rectify, as they will need either additional labour or new materials or both.

Workmanship Defects

If the contractor does not follow the design specified in the construction documents while building a structure or component part, that would be a workmanship defect. Some of these defects can affect structural integrity. The process of determining liability, how and who did not follow the property ‘standard of care’ can be tedious, complex and lengthy.

So, ‘What is standard of care?’ one may ask.

Typically, all project stakeholders fulfil contractual obligations to a specified ‘standard of care’. In other words, work must progress and be completed as per the contract and design documents. The AIA general conditions, for example, has a contractor:

  • Visit the site to understand the local conditions
  • Review contract documents for improved coordination on site
  • Perform site work to acceptable standards of workmanship

So, working according to ‘standard of care’, how can defects and their impact be minimised?

Needless to say, all project stakeholders must strive to minimise construction defects. Some of the measures they can undertake to ensure this are:

  • Reviewing Terms of Contract – Too many cooks can spoil the broth. So, it is essential that all project stakeholders (designers, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, etc.) clearly understand responsibilities and accountability according to the contract and its provisions on liabilities.
  • Implementing Quality Control – Form a quality assurance group that meets regularly and reviews plans. A daily well-documented and organised report system should be set up, which involves daily inspections of the work and materials.
  • Responding Immediately – Any discovered defect requires an immediate review to identify the issue, its cause and cost-effective remedy before presenting it to the owner or management team.

In the absence of a clear CDP process, construction defects have the potential to create chaos, and with many stakeholders, determining or managing these defects can be quite tricky.

How It Usually Happens

The architect or engineer develops a design and provides it to the contractor, who must follow it explicitly according to the CDP. Some of the traditional obligations of contractors are as follows:

  • The contractor needs to fulfil implied design obligations so that they are not held liable for any design defects.
  • Obvious design defects, no matter how minor, must be brought to the attention of the designer. The contractor may be seen as negligent if the designer is not warned.
  • Both the quality of work and the material used are also the responsibility of the contractor. In some cases, contractors must ensure that the competency of the suppliers and quality of supplied goods are as specified.
  • Contractors may be responsible for the design work of subcontractors.

Newer contracts, as part of the CDP, for contractors may add the following:

  • The contractor must construct professionally, according to design specifications and best practices.
  • All materials and components must be new, of a specific quality and comply with contractual specifications.
  • All goods and materials are in good condition for the purpose for which they are used.
  • Any part of the process involving design by the contractor must utilise materials fit for their intended purpose.

Using CDP processes during the development of building design ensures that everyone involved in the project is clear about their roles, responsibilities and consequences in case of defects. For contractors, the CDP process can be enhanced by using high-quality MEP BIM services and MEP coordination services from offshore sources, provided they are reliable, prompt and cost effective. Ultimately, the CDP is the responsibility of the contractor, and based on the understanding of the design and contractual obligations, the contractor knows best.

XS CAD has valuable experience providing HVAC mechanical engineering and BIM services for general contractors and design consultants. Our range of services across the world includes MEP drafting services, electrical design services, MEP coordination services and MEP BIM services, and we offer retained teams when required. We create these models, drawings and BIM services by using Revit, AutoCAD and BIM Collaborate Pro for cloud collaboration.