Assignment of design to constructors: Documentation and drawings

by Keith Robinson, RSW, FCSC, FCSI, Cameron Franchuk, PE, and Gerald Murnane

All photos ©
All photos ©

Recent pressures have caused responsibility for many design solutions to be transferred to the constructor, as noted in Parts 1 and 2 of this series. To properly complete deferred design, a solid understanding of regulations surrounding shop drawings, specifications, submittals, and other documentation is necessary.

 Documentation regulations

The National Building Code of Canada (NBC) does not require supporting registered professionals to submit documentation detailing their commitment to design and compliance following site reviews. However, this is required of the registered professional of record (RPR) so there is a record of assurances to address building permit and occupancy obligations to the authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs). The following are some Canadian examples of documentation regulations set by architectural and engineering associations.


Engineers and Geoscientists BC (EGBC) and the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) established guidelines for documentation mirroring each other’s responsibilities, which are intended to be completed by the supporting registered professional and are retained by the RPR as a part of the permanent project file.


The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) requires specialty professionals (i.e. supporting registered professionals) to complete letters of commitment and compliance to provide closure to the responsibility of the applicable component of deferred or collaborative design, confirm whether site review is required to certify component completion, and offer assurance the specialty professional is competent in the work being performed. These are retained by the RPR as part of the permanent project file.


Professional Engineers Ontario (PEO) requires specialty engineers (i.e. supporting registered professionals) to complete the standard form for commitment to general review and letter of general conformance when site visits form a part of the work for assurance of installed components. These documents prove specialty engineers are qualified to perform the work being provided to the project and are retained by the RPR as a part of the permanent project file.

Other jurisdictions

Other jurisdictions have similar requirements for the supporting registered professional. Although not identified as well as in the three previous references, some form of documentation indicating responsibility for the completed work is required from the supporting registered professional in these areas and is retained by the RPR as a part of the permanent project file.

Submittal of the various commitment and compliance documents identified by professional engineering associations establishes a similar relationship with the constructor’s engineer as with subconsultants. They are responsible for their portion of design in a similar way as the co-ordinating professional of record (CPR), except liability associated with that risk is administered by the RPR.

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