Frequently Asked Questions

What are Some Advantages of Architect-Led Design-Build?2022-06-22T23:32:40+00:00


  • With Architect-led Design-build, the architect is responsible directly to the client, and is able to advise the client on appropriate design standards and long-term cost and performance implications of their design decisions.

Single-Point Responsibility

  • With Architect-led Design-build, one entity is responsible for cost, quality, time, and the design intent, but more importantly, the client benefits from the architect’s personal, professional responsibility for the conduct of the architect’s firm. Even when the architect-led Design-build contract is split into separate legal entities for design and construction under the direction of the same architect, the client still benefits from that architect’s personal professional interest in the success of the project, because architects cannot contract out of professional liability.

Team Orientation

  • With Architect-Led Design-Build, everybody has the common goal to meet the client’s requirements without design and construction becoming competing interests.

Risk Management

  • For the owner, there is less financial risk in Architect-Led Design-build than in design-bid-build, where low bidders are motivated to pursue additional costs for project changes. Other advantages include: reduced risk to client, design consultants and subcontractors due to reduced number of primary stakeholders in the project; simplified and enhanced team communications.

Continuity of Involvement

  • The Architect-Led Design-Build firm is involved with the project from start to finish and cannot re-direct responsibility for design decisions during construction, so the project will tend to be value-engineered at all stages rather than after design is completed as with a design-bid-build project.

Cost savings

  • Architect-Led Design-Build has economy of scale because of the continuity of knowledge development with one party over the duration of the project with potential for cost savings to the client. With Architect-Led Design-Build, hard and soft costs can be budgeted and taken into account early in the project also with potential for cost savings to the client.

Time savings

  • With Architect-Led Design-Build, architects exercise existing skills in cost estimating, scheduling, construction sequencing, and bidding and negotiation to reduce project time. Projects can also be completed on an accelerated schedule when detail design is done concurrent with the start of construction.

Find out if Architect-led Design-Build is an appropriate option for your project.

What services do we provide?2022-06-22T23:32:16+00:00

As a generalist firm, Gary Fields Architecture is able to provide a full range of services including design and construction. We adapt your project workplan to provide only services that are necessary for your project situation, providing you with a detailed checklist of services and deliverables which will and will not be included in your project, in a package for the private owner, the small business, the developer-builder or the corporate client. You can change your service package to suit your individual needs. Our profession also has a mandatory minimum scope of services for architectural projects which is included within the following services we may provide on your project:

  • Programming
  • Lead project workshops and meetings
  • Coordination of integrated design
  • Lead collaborative design team developing our design in a 3D digital BIM model
  • Schematic design through a sequential series of design workshops
  • Identification of precedent operations, facilities, innovations and best practices
  • Identification of appropriate thematic responses to the design challenge
  • Identification of appropriate appearance, scale, texture, colour, material and detail of the design solution
  • Site analysis, site and building planning options
  • Energy utilization analysis
  • Layout of facility functions and vehicle / pedestrian / materials flows in relation to site constraints
  • Three-dimensional form and structure proposal for review and input from project team
  • Development of preferred schematic design to incorporate site and landscape development, engineering systems
  • Rezoning preparation, submission and representation at public meetings
  • Development permit preparation, submission and panel representation
  • Prepare and submit building permit applications
  • Coordinate all approvals
  • Project team procurement including design consultants, construction contractors, specialist consultants
  • Project workplanning
  • Tracking and sharing data, communications, deliverables, drawings and documents
  • Delivery of the construction project in General Contractor role
  • Monitoring project progress
  • Costing and financial studies
  • Budget review
  • Facilitate building commissioning
  • Turn over construction documents at substantial completion including as-built drawings, and O&M manuals
  • Prepare final project reports
  • CONSTRUCTION PROCUREMENT (Bidding and Negotiation)
  • Review construction contract types with client
  • Construction drawings and specifications
  • Participate in pre-qualification of construction bidders
  • Prepare and issue tender documents
  • Participate in bidding and negotiation
  • Prepare addenda
  • Assist with interpretation of bids, and award of contracts
  • Act as payment certifier and contract administrator
  • Carry out construction site review
  • Prepare site instructions, change orders
  • Review progress claims and issue certificates for payment
  • Administer lien holdbacks
  • Certify project completion
What do Architects do?2022-06-22T23:31:37+00:00

Architects are registered professionals who design, procure and administer the construction of buildings of all sizes and uses, including buildings that legally require the engagement of an architect. Gary Fields Architecture does design at every scale including urban design, buildings, interior design and architectural woodwork design. We create experiences which give identity, order and place to individuals, organizations and communities. The firm leads the owner and a design & construction team to realize the owner’s project goals.

Our architectural services generally include:

  • Programming, planning
  • Architectural and interior design
  • Construction drawings and documents for municipal approvals / tendering / construction
  • Construction procurement including contractor pre-selection, bidding and negotiation
  • Construction contract administration and construction field review

The current phase of the practice emphasizes our product with a focus on Architecture as a Force for Good. The firm aspires to build beyond our region’s West Coast Modern tradition toward design that engages emerging aspects of contemporary culture. To help our clients take advantage of our construction expertise, Gary Fields Architecture also now offers Architect-Led Design-Build services. Find out if Architect-led Design-Build is an appropriate option for your project.

What is a General Contractor or Developer in British Columbia?2022-06-22T23:33:39+00:00

Take advantage of our services including contractor pre-qualification, bidding and negotiation, to take the guesswork out of procuring construction, and reduce your risk.


  • A General Contractor or Design-Builder is a business which takes overall responsiblity for delivery of a construction project. Usually, a General Contractor contracts directly with the Owner on a lump sum or cost-plus basis, and with subcontractors who provide separate trades’ construction as part of the Construction Agreement. Items of work provided by the General Contractor itself may include maintenance and supervision of the construction site, coordination of the work of trade contractors, worker safety, etc.
  • Unlike architects and other registered professionals, there are no barriers to entry into the construction industry as a General Contractor or Design-Builder, and there is no regulatory authority which sets minimum standards of qualification, practice and conduct. Anybody who registers a business in British Columbia has the right to call that business a General Contractor or Design-Builder. Business licensing is not an occupational licensing system, and there are no minimum knowledge, skill, or experience requirements.
  • Any business owner who registers their business with Homeowner Protection Office (BC) has the right to call that business a Licensed Residential Builder or Licensed Building Envelope Renovator. This is not an occupational licensing system, and there is no evaluation of registrants for minimum knowledge, skill, or experience requirements. HPO registration is merely a prerequisite for a home builder to participate in the New Home Warranty program in BC.


  • Generally, a Land Developer is involved in a range of activities related to the improvement of real property, including real estate investment, purchase, lease, subdivision, rezoning, development approval, procurement of site and building work, and ultimately either sale or operation of properties and facilities. Many Developers are also Owner/Builders of their own construction, usually through a legally separate construction business which acts as a General Contractor. Unlike architects and other registered professionals, there are no barriers to entry into the construction industry as a Developer, and there is no regulatory authority which sets minimum standards of qualification, practice and conduct. Anybody who registers a business in British Columbia has the right to call that business a Developer. Business licensing is not an occupational licensing system, and there are no minimum knowledge, skill, or experience requirements.


  • Individual trade workers – e.g. welders, plumbers, electricians etc. require certification based on knowledge and experience in order to work in individual trades. Trade certification alone does not indicate competency to operate a construction or development business. A large proportion of construction work does not require trade worker certification.
  • There are a number of municipal, regional, provincial and national construction associations, all of which operate on a voluntary membership basis. Businesses specializing in major building trades may also belong to trade associations on a voluntary basis. None of these voluntary associations have regulatory authority over construction contractors.


  • All businesses which engage in construction in British Columbia are required to register with WorksafeBC, which regulates workplace health and safety in British Columbia. Discuss with us how we act as the architect to protect owner’s legal and financial interests related to worker safety.

Call on Gary Fields Architecture to provide the professional leadership and advice you need to protect your investment through construction and beyond.

What is Architect-Led Design-Build?2022-06-22T23:33:23+00:00


  • The ‘design-bid-build’ (or general contractor) approach to building project delivery is a linear process in which an owner engages an architect to design a building, then the architect assists the owner to select a general contractor who is unaffiliated with the architect to construct the building.


  • ‘Design-Build’ is a different project delivery method in which both design and construction are performed by a single entity. Design-Build has a reputation for reducing project cost and time, but it also has a reputation for lesser quality and lower standards of aesthetic design than architect-designed ‘design-bid-build’ projects. This is because at the stage of procuring a contractor-led design-builder, the design-build proponents develop and negotiate quality and durability standards independent of each other in the absence of objective design and performance criteria (e.g. architectural and interior design drawings and specifications) to bid on.
  • Contractor design-builders typically compete on price in the absence of other criteria, bidding to the lowest design, quality and performance standards permitted by building regulations. This may be perfectly acceptable to the client, depending on the project type. However the client whose interest in the project will survive after completion of construction must also take into account design quality as well as operation, maintenance and life-cycle costs in addition to capital cost. Even when the architect is named in a design-build agreement between the contractor/design-builder and owner, the architect is primarily responsible to the contractor/design-builder, and the contractor/design-builder may direct the architect to design to minimum regulatory requirements.


  • Clients choose ‘Design-Build’ because it reduces project duration, removes adversarial relationships and gives the client a single point of responsibility for the project. Historically up until the 20th century, most buildings including enduring masterpieces of architecture were both designed and constructed by the architect as a “master-builder”. Many 20th century and contemporary masterpieces were also designed and built by their architect. Today, in many advanced economies around the world, this system still prevails and the architect is professionally responsible for both building design and construction.
  • In 20th Century North America, the architectural profession considered architect-led design-build to be outside of the architect’s proper scope of professional practice, so general contractors filled the need for the Design-Builder, by engaging the architect themselves, not by acting as the designer.
  • 21st century clients, the profession, and suitably qualified architects are seeing the benefit of the architect as Design-Builder, because of advantages the architect brings uniquely to the role. The ‘Architect-led Design-Build’ approach re-integrates design and construction and allows the architect to maximize efficiencies in project time, cost and quality throughout the building project.

We now offer Architect-Led Design-Build services as one of our project delivery options for the appropriate project type and scale. Find out if Architect-Led Design-Build is an appropriate option for your project.

How do you manage time, cost and risk by engaging an architect before you hire a construction contractor?2022-06-22T23:32:59+00:00

When you engage Gary Fields Architecture before engaging a construction contractor:

  • You get professional, impartial advice about project delivery options which are appropriate to your project’s scope, schedule, budget and other requirements, instead of the project delivery option that one construction contractor prefers.
  • You retain the right to have a fair and impartial professional to create, interpret and administer your construction contract in accordance with industry standards, working collaboratively with you and the construction team.
  • You retain the option to do your project with Architect-Led Design-Build.

Get professional advice. If your project does not require an architect, we’ll tell you all about it in a No-fee / No-obligation Consultation.

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