What Does a Design Standards Manager Do?

By AIA Contract Documents

August 30, 2023

A Design Standards Manager establishes the overall function, performance, and quality standards for a campus or multiple-project program. Such standards may encompass maintenance issues or identify campus-wide systems (e.g., systems for building management, infrastructure, mechanical, access control/keying and fire detection/suppression). Such standards may also include or preclude the use of certain materials and/or establish campus-wide standards (e.g., standards for energy, products, water management, etc.). Importantly, a Design Standards Manager does not this establish or dictate architectural style or infringe upon the role of the Design Architect or Architect of Record.

Once the design standards are established, the Design Standards Manager may be complete with their work or, at the client’s request, they may continue to provide services throughout all project phases. During the project, the Design Standards Manager may take an active role in monitoring and enforcing the design standards across multiple projects by establishing protocols and other criteria for reviewing submittals from the owner’s consultants and contractors to ensure conformance with the design standards. Additionally, the Design Standards Manager may collaborate with various project participants to communicate design standards and answer any questions related to the design standards. Then, the Design Standards Manager will document any revisions or deviations from the design standards, and that documentation will serve as a reference for future projects.

Overall, a Design Standards Manager ensures consistency in the project, which contributes to a cohesive and well-integrated project.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.