ATLANTA - Starting a design/build business is not as simple as adding a new tag line to your corporate brochure, Web site, or business cards. "What you say you can do has a big impact on your legal liabilities and what others expect of you," Mark Diamond cautions.

Diamond is co-author of The ASHRAE Member's Survival Guide – Design/Build, published by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The guide provides background on the issues, consequences, and liabilities that can result for those considering executing projects using a design/build approach.

Design/build is a method of project delivery where both design and construction are executed by a single entity. The project can be competitively bid or negotiated. One firm holds all of the performance risk. The objective for the owner is to have a single point of contact for all aspects of executing the project.

"Design/build is certainly a viable and vibrant project delivery option and stands equally alongside traditional delivery approaches in cost, schedule, quality, and customer satisfaction, but it should not be considered a panacea to all that ails the design and construction industries," Diamond said.

The guide examines roles and responsibilities of engineers in design/build, contractual agreements, contract issues, project execution strategies, liability issues, licensing laws, insurance, and risk allocation.

The guide is the third in a series overseen by ASHRAE's technical committee 1.7, Business, Management and Legal Education. The others are The ASHRAE Member's Survival Guide – Contracts: A Self-Help Tool for Managing Risk Through the Use of Contract Terms and The ASHRAE Member's Survival Guide – Avoiding Pitfalls in Engineering Practice.

The cost of The ASHRAE Member's Survival Guide – Design/Build is $24 for non-members ($19 for ASHRAE members).

To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Service at 800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 404-321-5478, by mail at 1791 Tullie Circle NE, Atlanta, GA 30329, or visit ASHRAE's online bookstore at

Publication date: 12/06/2004