In a recent survey of clients and buyers of construction, the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) found that over 50% of design efforts finish behind or significantly behind schedule. Furthermore it found that 70% of clients have seen the quality of design documents decrease over the past ten years with 97% of clients agreeing that designers should be held more accountable for the quality of the designs that are delivered. This paper presents the research results of applying a new approach to contracting design professionals that enforces accountability and minimizes risk through the adaptation of six sigma and lean principles. The new approach theorizes that the inefficiencies in the design industry are due to the selection and contract management system used by most clients. The first 39 design project test results are presented in the paper, along with the evolution of the design delivery model. Key finding include the threat of political risk to change, the inability of most design professional to address specific project risk, andthe lack of preplanning evident in most design projects. Copyright ASCE 2009.