What are the Roles of a Design/Build Team?

Typically there are three primary team members on a design/build project. They include the Owner, the criteria developer, and the design/build (D/B) contractor. Each one is explained in more detail below:

1. Owner

•  Work with criteria developer to capture needs and desires in criteria documents/contract documents
•  Implement a process to select D/B contractor
•  Work with D/B contractor to finalize design and construction (sometimes through criteria developer/project manager)
•  Communicate changing needs to D/B contractor
•  Participate in punch list process
•  Move in and enjoy the new facility

2. Criteria Developer

•  Work with Owner personnel and stakeholders to draft criteria documents/contract documents
•  Sometimes hired to represent the Owner throughout construction and review design/construction/completion activities
•  May review pay applications and change orders and assist Owner in the punch list process
•  Advise Owner on contractual matters and D/B contractor compliance with contract
•  Assist Owner to maintain budget integrity

3. Design/Build Contractor 

•  Provide qualifications proposal and initial renderings to demonstrate their vision of compliance with the criteria documents
•  Confirm pricing with subcontractors that meets design criteria
•  Provide scope compliance information and agree on cost with Owner
•  Design the project using qualified design professionals and obtain Owner approval of code- compliant design that meets the criteria documents
•  Design team maintains engagement in project throughout construction
•  Construct the project, draft changes, punch out and complete the facility
•  Maintain budget and schedule throughout the duration of the project
•  Provide clear and regular communication with Owner on project status and any changes
•  Obtain good reference from satisfied Owner

So, why should an Owner select design/build?

  1. Single source of accountability – this goes for design and construction
  2. Budget management – discussing budget throughout the duration of design
  3. Enhanced communication – early and ongoing communications between Owner, design contractor, and subcontractor(s)
  4. Faster project completion – can shorten overall schedule since construction starts while design is being completed

If you have more questions or want to get started on your next project with us, reach out!


Designing Culinary Centers

Culinary centers are unique from start to finish, from the initial planning of the lab layout to the finishing technological touches. Schmidt Associates has experience in designing such state-of-the-art facilities. We’ve outlined 4 things that you should know about culinary centers.

  1. The Growing Demand for Culinary Centers
  2. What is in a Culinary Center?
  3. The Sequence of Events
  4. Main Takeaways


In this blog we will focus on the first two takeaways. Be sure to check back for our next post on The Sequence of Events and Main Takeaways.

The Growing Demand for Culinary Centers

Recent lifestyle changes in our society have led people to eat out more and cook at home less, which creates a demand for more restaurants and a greater diversity in cuisine options. In addition, foodies are on the rise, which only adds to the demands for more authentic, gourmet restaurants and chefs. With these societal demands and the growing restaurant culture, people are beginning to realize that it’s possible to make a career out of cooking. Simply put, our society is embracing the restaurant culture, thus growing the demand for culinary centers at schools.

However, the big downfall with the growing demand for culinary centers rests in the expense of the labs. One of Schmidt Associate’s recent culinary centers has $2-3M in equipment alone with another $500,000 in audio and video displays. So while culinary centers are in demand, you probably won’t see them popping up everywhere anytime soon. 

What is in a Culinary Center?

Culinary centers have various labs that cater to specific categories of food preparation. These labs are based on both programming and budget. Labs are typically sized for 20-24 students, but the space and equipment needed are massive in relation to the class size. Regardless of class size, most culinary centers will always have a general cooking lab and a general baking lab. Other lab options include meat fabrication labs (for learning how to prepare and butcher meats), bakery and bread labs, chocolate labs, garde manger labs (for preparing salads, sushi, hors d’oeuvre, etc.), and garde manger aging rooms (for aging meats, cheeses, etc.).

In terms of requirements for these labs, certain specialty rooms, such as garde manger aging rooms and chocolate labs, require specific temperature and humidity controls for proper preparation. Demonstrations are a huge part of culinary classes. This means space and video technology are a necessity in order for the entire class to fully see the demonstration. And like any kitchen restaurant function, how the food flows from delivery to serving is critical to its success. More on that in the next blog…



Don’t forget to come back and learn about The Sequence of Events and Main Takeaways.



Roof 101: Steep-slope Roof Material Options

There are 4 main material options for steep-slope roofs: shingles, slate, clay tile, and metal.

The most commonly used material is shingles, which has an average useful life of 20 years. Shingles can come in traditional asphalt form, as well as in rubber or steel.

Slate and clay tile, while beautiful, are the most expensive of the options and may also require expensive maintenance. Because slate and clay tile are natural products, they do not come with a warranty. This lack of warranty can cause extensive repair costs, especially when considering that problems caused by improper installation can start soon after the installation. Further, slate and clay tile roofs can only be attached to a roof by mechanically attaching them, which risks cracking the slate or tile, or clipping them, which may allow for water to seep underneath, freeze, and cause the slate or clay tiles to become detached from the clips.

The third option is a metal roof. While it is expensive, it is relatively maintenance free and gives a modern look that many desire. Metal roofs are installed with clips and proper installation is important to ensure that water seepage does not occur. Schmidt Associates typically specifies two roofs to avoid this problem; a rubber membrane under the metal roof. Hail can also create problems for metal roofs. Damage from a hail storm can be significant since the metal can show dents just like a car. That damage, however, is usually just aesthetic and the metal roof can continue to perform leak free. Without hail and with proper installation, metal roofs can last up to 20 or more years.


Here is another post about roof material options for low-slope roofs, as well as which option we prefer and why.

Lessons Learned on Design/Build

Schmidt Associates summarizes lessons learned after each project to continually improve. The list below summarizes our experience with various design/build projects—acting as either the criteria developer or as a member of the design/build team.

•  There can be different levels of scope or criteria development depending on the Owner’s desire for control or the desire to include certain features or products.
•  Some clients believe the design/build delivery method is less desirable for more complex or specialized projects.
•  The Owner must require a realistic schedule and hold the design/builder accountable for meeting it.
•  Owner coordination with third-party contracts before, during, or after design/build construction is difficult and may require additional coordination by the Owner.
•  It’s important to use explicit language in criteria documents to avoid gaps in the scope.
•  Highlight non-negotiable items in performance specifications to clarify scope (i.e. Energy Star requirements, windows in all offices, VRV with a minimum of 15 zones).
•  Use Construction Specific Institute (CSI) code when organizing performance specifications for referencing ease.
•  Be clear on who is removing, transporting, and installing Owner-provided products.
•  Review project-specific requirements when you review proposals and pay particular attention to required clearances.
•  Carefully review all of the design/build responses and document any exceptions prior to signing the design/build contract.

Overall, when planning a design/build project, carefully review all criteria and proactively plan the project. These lessons learned will help your project go more smoothly.

What is Design/Build?

According to Wikipedia, design/build (commonly abbreviated D/B) is a project delivery system used in the construction industry. It is a method to deliver a project in which the design and construction services are contracted by a single entity known as the design/builder or design/build contractor.

What does this actually mean for an owner?

Design/build results in a single point of contact for contractual responsibility for both the design and construction of a project. The design/build contractor will hold contracts with the various design and construction sub-consultants. The design/build contractor works from a set of criteria developed by the owner (or the owner’s criteria developer) and will ultimately be responsible for cost, schedule, accuracy, owner satisfaction and more.

What are the pros and cons of each?

Guaranteed maximum price
•  Single point of responsibility – accountability
•  Ability to involve the construction team through the design process and keep the designers engaged through construction
•  Increased ability to control the quality of prime contractors

Perception of the “fox watching the hen house”
•  The model is difficult to adapt to complex projects while maintaining the owner’s desired aesthetics.
•  Criteria to select the contractor can feel subjective and difficult to evaluate since a low-bid price is not the determining factor.

Check back for future blogs on roles of the design/build team and design/build lessons learned.