Cost Benefit Analysis - Designers

Performance of construction project is much impacted by design changes. These changes are any additions, omissions or adjustments made to the original scope of work after a contract is awarded. It may cause an adjustment to the contract price or contract time, and it occurs regularly on construction projects.

A code analysis is a systematic review and compilation of the specific provisions of the locally adopted building code that will affect the design and construction of a building or facility. It is one of the most important tasks during the course of any architectural project. An incomplete analysis can have serious implications on the degree to which a project meets the obligation to protect the public at the same time it achieves the designer's design intent.

The real danger is that a code error will affect your design in a way that is detrimental to both your in-house budget and the client's construction budget. Your in-house budget may be exhausted, resulting in the redesign being done at a financial loss to your firm. Or, the cost of redesign to bring the project into code compliance may exceed the project budget, causing the project to be delayed or even cancelled. Either effect can be devastating.

When designing a project, it is important to remember that the contents of the building code are the minimum standards the project must comply with. Designing to these minimum standards is not only the ethical thing to do, it is required by law. Every member of the project team, from designer to project manager to drafter, must understand these minimum standards in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

OptaSoft belives that a design begins with "code analysis" not with sketch paper or software simulation. This eliminates the unnecessary design modifications of which exponentially increases the cost of plans preparations. It is a good idea to engage in more than one code analysis and review during the course of a project. This can be done before the design leaves the sketch paper and becomes an idea to be developed.

As a project design develops beyond the sketch paper stage, a more detailed understanding of the code is required to ensure protection of those who occupy the building. The design team often develops a code analysis to be used at the transition between phases of a project and in discussions with building officials. Through a continual reference to code analysis, unexpected surprises for the project design can be avoided.

Plan Prepartions - Traditional Approach

Four Rules to Keep in Mind When Developing Construction Plans for a Client

  1. Duties and Powers of Building Official: The building official is hereby authorized and directed to enforce the provisions of the building code. The building official shall have the authority to render interpretations of the code and to adopt policies and procedures in order to clarify the application of its provisions. Such interpretations, policies and procedures shall be in compliance with the intent and purpose of the code. Such policies and procedures shall not have the effect of waiving requirements specifically provided for in the building code.

  2. Code Compliance Burden of Proof: In general, the "duty" to ensure compliance with the building code "rests" with individual permit applicants, builders and developers.

  3. Do Not Memorize the Code when Developing Construction Plans: The worst thing you can do is memorize what the codes say. Why? Because codes change. This is a good thing because codes are usually changed to reflect progress and technological advancement in the building industry.

  4. Designer's Actual Authority: Designer normally researches and prepares recommendations for technical matters relating to the design, when involving quality, cost and/or time, these corrections, changes, and interpretations are communicated to the owner who often controls the final disposition on the matter For some portion of the build process may rest with the designer. Because no direct contractual tie exists between the designer and the contractor, however, responsibility for the designer's performance in these situations rests with the owner
To analyze the cost of the traditional approach of plan preparations, please provide the following information and click "Next":

Design Stage Rate

Lead Designer Rate ($/hour)
Project Manager Rate ($/hour)
Drafting Rate ($/hour)
Modification Rate ($/hour)
Design Firm Hours Consumption

Total Lead Designer hours
Total Project Manager hours
Total Drafting hours
Total Modification hours
3rd Party Review Sevice (If Applicable)

3rd Party Plan Review Rate ($/hour)...
3rd Party Total Plan Review hours