The role of an Engineer of Record (E.O.R.) on a commercial Design-Bid–Build Project is well defined. But when it comes to Fast Track and smaller building projects this is not always the case.

In the interest of “cost savings” and schedule the involvement of the E.O.R. becomes somewhat less defined. At times, too much reliance is placed on the Specialty or Component Engineer by the Owner or Contractor.



“I’m just paid to pour the concrete”   This is an example of what can happen with no project coordination  (Note:  The location in the picture is not an ADS project!)


Trust us, coordinating with other aspects of your project is low on their list. Either limited by contract language or access to the other design documents the supplier is only there to sell their product.

For example when a pre-engineered building is selected for a project, the architect accepts conditions inherent in the manufacturer’s product offerings for aspects such as materials, colors, structural form, dimensional limitations, etc.

Despite the existence of the manufacturer’s standard assembly details, the architect remains responsible to ensure that the manufacturer’s product and assembly is consistent with the building code requirements and occupant/owner expectations.

Unless a Structural E.O.R. is on board, compatibility with the projects parameters could go unchecked.

This thinking remains consistent with any other Specialty designed system such as prefabricated wood trusses, fire suppression systems, steel connection design, alarm systems, light gage framing systems, or special foundation systems.

Without a responsible E.O.R., coordination and responsibility ultimately would fall on the Architect-of-Record.   The Engineer of Record would then be responsible to specify the design parameters for the project (e.g. materials, loads, design standards, service limits) and to ensure that the element and assembly designs by others are consistent with the design intent of the Architect.

In the end, it is the E.O.R. that must review the Specialty designed systems conformance to the project requirements. Legal precedent has established that it is the E.O.R. that is ultimately responsible for all Specialty designed components, or in the case of no E.O.R., the Architect-of-Record. In the context described, the Architect and Engineer of Record are the designers of the building and bear ultimate responsibility for the performance of the completed work.

A buyer should be aware of the project professional distinctions when developing the project plan. At ADS our goal is to focus on communication and coordination between design teams. At ADS we provide Structural and MEP Engineering under one roof to facilitate this goal.

To see some examples of our successful projects go to our web site.

Written by David Simpson, P.E., SECB, MBA, President, Principal Engineer

dave-simpson2David Simpson’s experience includes over 30 years in structural design and project management for industrial, commercial, institutional and nuclear/chemical facilities utilizing steel, concrete, masonry and wood. His accomplishments include design and construction administration of health care facilities, hotels, schools, shopping centers, aircraft hangars, numerous retail facilities and several forensic engineering assignments. He has professional registrations in D.C., Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Simpson graduated from the West Virginia Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and an MBA from West Virginia University.