Industry News

News Home

Design Assist vs. Delegated Design - Industry Experts Release Recommended Guidance

Chicago, IL - Over the past few years, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) have worked together to study design collaboration techniques commonly used in the construction industry. As a result of this joint effort, the AIA and AISC have published a paper titled "Design Collaboration on Construction Projects. Delegated Design, Design Assist, and Informal Involvement – What Does it all Mean?"

Along the way, the AIA and AISC discovered that the terms "design assist" and "delegated design," while commonly used in the industry, often mean different things to different people. These differences often result in differing expectations amongst the project participants. Thus, the AIA and AISC set their goal for the paper: to describe the roles and responsibilities of project participants in these design collaboration scenarios and offer definitions and guidelines that design professionals and the construction industry can adopt for their use.

"It's all about clear and consistent expectations," says Babette Freund, executive vice president of Dave Steel Company, Inc. and member of the AISC Code of Standard Practice committee. "This document will help everyone understand and distinguish informal involvement, design assist involvement, and delegation of design work."

This jointly authored paper will come in two parts. Part 1 focuses generally on three collaborative techniques – informal involvement, design assist, and delegated design. Part 2, which will be published at a later date, will address design assist as it relates to fabricated structural steel.

Charles J. Carter, SE, PE, PhD, president of AISC, expressed his excitement for the paper and for things to come in the second part. "We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with AIA in the development of this document -- and look forward to continuing that collaboration on Part 2," he said.

Ken Cobleigh, managing director of AIA Contract Documents, believes this paper will provide important guidance about design collaboration on construction projects, particularly given that it was created as part of a collaborative effort. "When you work with others to create anything, be it a paper like this or the design of a building, you get the benefit of shared expertise," Cobleigh said. "We certainly learned a great deal from the representatives of AISC about these issues, and we hope the entire industry can benefit from the results of our collective work."

To download the paper, click here

Part 1 of this paper was written with significant contributions from the AIA's Documents and Risk Management Committees and AISC's Committee on the Code of Standard Practice. For inquiries about AISC's work and the Code of Standard Practice, contact or 866.ASK.AISC (866.275.2472). For more information about the AIA's Risk Management Committee and Contract Documents Committee, visit and

About the American Institute of Steel Construction

AISC-logoThe American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC’s mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, and market development. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. To learn more, visit

^ Back To Top