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To Have and to Hold, in Sickness and in Health:
Strategies for Managing Risk on Design/Build Teams

By Jonathan C. Shoemaker

Before joining a team to submit a proposal on a design-build project, it is important to understand the risks to the design professional’s firm associated with participating on a design-build team – including risks that arise even before the design-build team is awarded the project! This paper provides a framework for the “old hands” and novices alike to understand, assess, and minimize the risks associated with participating on a design-build team (and, in turn, maximize profits). By considering how to choose the right partner, how to determine the right contractual structure for the design-build team, and how to manage the risks allocated to the design professional, the prudent design professional will be better equipped when considering the pros and cons of participating on a design-build team.


Jonathan concentrates his practice in the representation of design professionals involved in construction related disputes throughout Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland. While the majority of his practice involves guiding clients when disputes arise, Jonathan frequently applies “lessons learned” in the courtroom when counseling clients during the negotiation of contracts. Drawing from his experience, Jonathan regularly presents at seminars on behalf of such industry leaders as AIA, ACEC, ASHRAE, and IEEE-IAS

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