Sign In, Renew, Sign Up

Search AIA

Search AIA Go

Practicing ArchitectureAIAPodnet

Page Tools

Reed Insight and Community






Architect-led Design Build: A Practical Business Plan




Podcast: 2007/6/4 - 13:21

Presenter: Mark C. Friedlander, Esq.

Moderator: Kathleen Lane



Mark C. Friedlander is the Co-Chair and a founding partner of the Construction Law Group of the law firm of Schiff Hardin LLP. He obtained his B.A. from the University of Michigan in 1978 and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1981. Since 1985 he has been an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture and since 1995 a lecturer at Northwestern University’s Engineering School.

Mr. Friedlander is a member of the Design Build Institute of America and the former Chairman of its Professional Practices and Contracts Committee. He is on the Board of Governors of the American College of Construction Lawyers and was the Chair of its Project Delivery Systems Committee from 2000-2005, and is currently President of the Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys. He also served as the legal advisor to the Testimony Review Subcommittee of the American Consulting Engineers Council from 1988-92 and was a member of the Committee on Outsourcing of Design and the Construction Management Services for Federal Facilities of the National Research Council, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, Board of Infrastructure and the Constructed Environment, National Academy of Science and Engineering. Mr. Friedlander serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Construction Accounting and Taxation. He has served on the Construction Arbitration Advisory Panel of the American Arbitration Association and is a member of the American, Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations, as well as of the Forum Committee on Construction Law.

Mr. Friedlander writes and speaks frequently on various issues of construction law and litigation. Recently, he has concentrated his practice in alternative project delivery methods, particularly design-build, and is credited with having developed and popularized a new business structure for design-build construction projects that allows architects to lead the design-build team.  Please visit his website for more information.

Despite the increasing popularity of design build as a method of project delivery in the United States, the work has been mostly controlled by contractors. Mark C. Friedlander, Esq., a lawyer who has specialized in representing design professionals for over 20 years and is currently a leading member of the Design Build Institute of America, outlines the benefits of taking a different approach. Once fearful of risks and liabilities, unaware of specific construction techniques, and ignorant of specific contractors, now using an architect-led design build business model allows for a renewed sense of project ownership with the added benefits of controlling projects.

The architect’s pitch: on top of all the other design skills and expertise I’ve just shown you, I’m prepared to guarantee to you that the project will occur on time and on budget. And on top of that I’m willing to put that guarantee in writing and sign it as part of my contract, but only If I build the project as well, because I can only guarantee my own construction work, not somebody else’s.

This presentation instructs architects on how to structure their businesses to contract directly with owners as the prime member of a design build team, subcontracting the actual construction to a general contractor teammate. The benefits can be seen by architects and contractors, in addition to the consumer.

There are many potential opportunities in taking a collaborative approach to design build. For the architect, potential benefits extend to reduced construction risk, increased direction, more consumer trust, and a higher profit margin. For the contractor, it means a steady workflow without the need to advertise. Between the two, it allows for much closer collaboration as the creative process becomes more intimate and streamlined, with communication throughout project development, versus a more competitive method of contractor controlled building. And due to this, the consumer benefits with a better product and a lower cost.

In this podcast, Mr. Friedlander constructs a concise and provocative picture for when the architect leads the team, and follows through by explaining how.



Footer Navigation

Copyright & Privacy

  • © The American Institute of Architects
  • Privacy