What Are the Responsibilities and Deliverables of a Principal Design Consultant? -lceted LCETED INSTITUTE FOR CIVIL ENGINEERS

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May 26, 2024

What Are the Responsibilities and Deliverables of a Principal Design Consultant?

Principal Design Consultant Scope of Works (SOW)


  • Prepare concept design planning to ensure the broad spatial planning, functional relationships, and planning requirements are fulfilled.
  • Develop planning rationale and kit of parts strategy.
  • Complete up to 3 concept planning strategies for review and approval by the Client.
  • Prepare preliminary design, plans, sections, and elevations, in accordance with the return functional brief and the preferred planning option, in sufficient detail to illustrate the design intent and illustrate:
    • Spatial, functional, and design relationships
    • Complete department blocking and stacking plans
    • Identify key design opportunities to support a new approach to working by the Client
    • Internal circulation and access for persons with disabilities (non-discriminatory design) where applicable
    • Storage vs. personal lockers
  • Conduct working sessions with the Client as required to agree on typical floor planning and typology development.
  • Attend and participate in design consultant team coordination meetings.
  • Assist the Project Manager in attaining pre-milestone sign-off of key work components.
  • Prepare documentation for discussion with relevant authorities regarding compliance.
  • Participate in a comprehensive review of the concept design to address the Client’s comments and incorporate resulting amendments.
  • Attend Tenant and Owner/Developer meetings as required.
  • Review the project time schedule, detailing dates and durations for each stage of the project to meet the Client’s required time frames.
  • Aid in the preparation of a concept design cost plan, as prepared by the cost consultant.
  • Complete value management/risk management workshop at the end of the phase post-cost consultant report.
  • Facilitate and coordinate detailed documentation for specific elements like stair/void and interior planting if required, liaising with third-party contractors as necessary.

Concept Design Package Internal Review

After developing schematic designs and preparing deliverables, the design team presents these to the client's management committee. The committee is given a week to deliberate internally on the schemes. Following this, a meeting is scheduled to discuss the committee's recommendations and comments. Not all suggestions from the committee will be implemented; the design team may defend their design choices based on the project context.

After deliberation, the design team iterates on the schematic design, typically refining it to one preferred scheme unless multiple layouts hold equal merit. This process repeats until a single scheme is approved for further development in the design development phase.

The client, assisted by the Project Director and in consultation with the design team, reviews and comments on the schematic designs. Comments and suggestions are documented and used for refining the design. Typically, a week suffices for the committee to deliberate on each iteration, though more complex projects may take 2 to 3 weeks. The project management team should document all stakeholder comments during deliberations to streamline the process.

The design team is responsible for presenting schematic designs, while the client deliberates and comments on them. The Project Director documents these comments for reference. Challenges for designers include client insistence on inappropriate design elements influenced by external sources, such as YouTube videos, and repeated redesign requests that revert to previous iterations. Setting a limit on the number of iterations and documenting client comments can help mitigate these issues.

Examples of Key Client Inputs and Deliverables

Key Client Inputs:

  • Provision and confirmation of all necessary briefing information to enable completion of the Concept Design phase
  • Review and comment at all meetings and key identified workshops
  • Facilitation of access to stakeholder groups for workshop and review sessions
  • Endorsement of final IT/AV/Comms briefing from Client IT team
  • Endorsement of final specialist brief requirements
  • Endorsement of security briefing and locker provisioning overlay
  • Endorsement of workforce strategy and accommodation numbers
  • Endorsement of training and event spaces development

Design Team Deliverables:

  • Complete final stakeholder engagement workshop
  • Complete concept planning arrangements and look and feel in line with design aspirations
  • Complete menu of settings to support the approved workplace strategy
  • Complete indicative furniture selections and identify potential furniture reuse possibilities
  • Complete indicative material/finishes selections
  • Complete a Concept Design Phase Report for Client review/approval and endorsement, including:
    • Business team blocking and stacking options (up to 3)
    • Work point strategy, meeting room strategy, staff break space
    • 1:100 floor plans - general arrangements and furniture layouts
    • 1:100 elevations, sections, feature details
    • 2D color presentation drawings/color boards/finishes schedule
    • Simple 3D conceptual black/white sketch-up renders of key elements
    • Initial finishes layout of initial look and feel
    • Initial interior planting approach
    • Storage approach
    • Identification of long lead time items
    • Endorsement of security briefing
  • Progressive value management/risk management opportunities at end of phase

Fee Structuring in the Strategy Development Phase

When engaged in the strategy development phase, the design team's fee can be computed similarly to the consultancy fee in the discovery phase:

  • DN = Designer’s Rate/Square Area
  • A = Area to be developed
  • M = Multiplier to account for overhead expenses and reasonable profit
  • Design Fee = DN x A x M

Fees are typically divided into phases:

  • Schematic design phase
  • Design development phase
  • Contract document phase
  • Construction implementation phase

To compensate for the design team's efforts throughout each stage, the Project Director may release payments in phases, calculated as a percentage of the Design Fee. For example:

  • 10% of the Design Fee upon starting the schematic design phase
  • 20% of the Design Fee upon completion of the design phase
  • 30% of the Design Fee upon completion of the contract document phase
  • 35% of the Design Fee during the construction phase, divided into monthly payments proportionate to the approved construction schedule by the main contractor
  • 5% of the Design Fee upon completion and acceptance of the construction work

Additional Fees and Post-Occupancy Assessment

After successful construction and implementation, the design team may be retained for post-occupancy assessment. Fees for this stage may be computed as a Professional Fee plus incurred expenses, or a Per Diem compensation.


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