New Standard Design-Assist Contract Document is First Industry Standard Document to Address Growing Practice


The ConsensusDocs 541 gets Constructors and Trade Contractors involved earlier in the project and collaborating successfully with Design Professionals

Washington, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The ConsensusDocs Coalition is publishing the industry’s first standard contract document addressing design-assist. The ConsensusDocs 541 Design-Assist Addendum creates a contractual structure to better coordinate design professionals, construction managers, and subcontractors in developing and constructing design documents.


The range of services including constructability reviews before design completion; owner’s program review; recommended procurement of materials; prefabrication recommendations; cost estimating; integrated value analysis; design-build packaging; and coordinated milestone scheduling. The document tackles the difficult task of defining the range of design-assist services. Optional design-assist services are identified including life cycle cost analysis; risk analysis; sustainability; and production planning. By gaining the early involvement of builders’ expertise and coordinating those efforts with design teams, greater project cohesion and efficiency is achieved.

Joe Leone, partner at Drewry Simmons Vornehm, LLP in Indiana, served as chair for the ConsensusDocs Coalition working group comments, “Design-assist is the most important development in the design and construction industry not addressed in a standard form contract document. Contractually isolating the efforts of architects and engineers and the expertise of constructors and trade contractors has proven detrimental to creating quality design documents that can be built on time and on budget. This first of its kind design-assist addendum, which brings all of the key project participants together in a collaborative environment, helps bridge this gap.”

This design-assist addendum coordinates with the recently released ConsensusDocs 305 Lean Construction Addendum by allowing users to opt into several Lean construction tools and processes. The Lean and design-assist Addendums work well together or independently.


ConsensusDocs standard construction contracts are the only contracts written and supported by a coalition of leading design and construction industry organizations. With a catalog of 100+ contract documents addressing all project delivery methods, ConsensusDocs contracts incorporate fair risk allocation and best practices to represent a project’s best interests. The Coalition’s organizations collectively represent hundreds of thousands of design professionals, owners, contractors, subcontractors, and sureties. For more information, please visit, call 866-925-DOCS (3627) or email .

Amy Hager


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