What is Design-Build and Design-Assist?

Design-Build and Design-Assist are not interchangeable terms, although there are similarities. The main difference is the designation of the firm that is responsible for the design of the systems.


In a pure “Design-Build” project, the different EORs (Engineers of Record) are employed/contracted by the Design-Build MEP (Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing) subcontractors. These subcontractors are solely responsible for designing, installing and commissioning the systems to satisfy the intent of the project. The various Design-Build subcontractors collaborate as a team and are responsible for informing each other of how their system will impact the project overall.

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In a “Design-Assist” project, the MEP EOR’s are typically hired by the project architect. These EOR’s are responsible for the project’s design and they coordinate closely with the other design team members, (architect, structural engineer, landscape architect, civil engineer, etc.), to ensure that each individual system is designed to meet the intent of the project.

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