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DBIA Milestone: Model Contracts Introduced

In 1999, DBIA’s first set of comprehensive model contract documents was introduced. Writing in the DBIA magazine, Design-Build Dateline, in January 2009, Bennett Greenberg, Esq., DBIA, a member of the committee charged with formulating the documents, described the three guiding principles that shaped DBIA’s first contracts:
  • Employ a modern risk allocation approach that distributed risk to the design-build participant best able to manage a particular risk in the most cost effective manner.
  • Create a process-oriented document that recognizes that success of design-build contracting is dependent on establishing the necessary processes to ensure the delivery of a project that satisfies the owner’s project criteria consistent with the contract price and schedule.
  • Create a user-friendly document that was easy to read (short on legalese) and could be used on various types of design-build projects.

In the wake of the release of DBIA contractual forms, other A/E/C associations adding or revising their design-build contracts embraced a drafting philosophies similar to DBIA’s approach. According to Greenberg this shift, “Represented a dramatic improvement over earlier design-build documents developed by these other industry groups. All of this has been great for the industry . . . There is no doubt that DBIA documents have raised the bar for other design-build standard form contracts.”

DBIA released a fully revised set of forms in 2010 and added two additional forms, DBIA Document No. 575, Standard Form of Agreement Between Design Consultant and Design Sub-Consultant and DBIA Document No. 580 Standard Form of Teaming Agreement Between Design-Builder and Teaming Party in 2012. The new documents continue to be informed by the principles outlined above, and continue to be regarded as among the most balanced agreements in the industry.

Sales figures from 2012 indicate that DBIA’s contract documents, which members receive at a 50 percent discount, are more popular and widely employed than ever before.


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