There are many activities that the Consultant can use during the design that will both improve efficiency and may also help to minimize the probability of having a professional liability claim. The following are suggestions that have been found to be effective in this regard:
Sharing the Scope of Work (SOW) is the first step in managing expectations. The SOW is where the expectations are established. Every person on the design team should receive a copy of the SOW for the project or at least have access to it. While the Project Manager and some members of the team that were involved in developing and negotiating the SOW know what is included, others may be only partially informed. They may be functioning largely on the basis of what they have heard or prior experience on similar projects.
Unless designers know what is included in the SOW and, more importantly, what is not, some will go beyond that which is in the SOW. Sadly, the Project Manager may only discover this when he/she observes that the project schedule or budget is in trouble. This situation is then compounded by the Project Manager having to decide whether or not to approach the Client with an awkward “after-the-fact” request for change in scope and/or additional compensation.
Verification that the design is being executed within the SOW is critical, especially early in the design process. A technique that can be helpful in this regard is to have an in-house 10% progress review during which the Project Manager can determine whether or not the design team is working within the SOW. This review can also avoid an unhappy schedule or quality surprise when it is time for the first formal submittal to the Client.