Design-Build Process: Advantages, Benefits, and Differences

By September 2, 2020 February 12th, 2024 No Comments

What is Design-Build?

Design-Build is a construction delivery method that provides owners with a single point of contact for both the design and construction phases of a project. One entity holds single-source responsibility and contractual risk for every aspect of a build — from estimation, assessments, and pre-construction to architecture, schematics, engineering, subcontracting, construction, and post-construction. The Design-Builder manages all contracts with companies, such as subcontractors, equipment vendors, and materials providers.

design build chart

The Design-Build process

The Design-Build process has five main phases:

  1. Selecting a Design-Builder
  2. Pre-construction assessments
  3. Architectural design
  4. Construction
  5. Post-construction

But unlike other construction methods, the phases overlap. All team members collaborate throughout the process to provide rapid project delivery.

The Design-Build Advantage:
Owner/Agency Benefits

  • Faster Delivery — collaborative project management means work is completed faster with fewer problems.
  • Cost Savings — an integrated team is geared toward efficiency and innovation.
  • Better Quality — design-builders meet performance needs, not minimum design requirements, often developing innovations to deliver a better project than initially imagined.
  • Singular Responsibility — one entity is held accountable for cost, schedule, and performance.
  • Decreased Administrative Burden — owners can focus on the project rather than managing disparate contracts.
  • Reduced Risk — the design-build team assumes additional risk.
  • Reduced Litigation Claims — by closing warranty gaps owners virtually eliminate litigation claims.

Practitioner Benefits

  • Higher Profit Margin — an integrated team is fully and equally committed to controlling costs.
  • Decreased Administrative Burden — design-build streamlines communication between designers and builders.
  • Reduced Litigation — a Victor O. Schinnerer benchmarking and claims study shows that from 1995-2004, only 1.3% of claims against A/E firms were made by design-build contractors.
  • Increased Market Share— more and more owners choose design-build.
Design-build chart kitchen and more

Design-Build Firms vs General Contractors

When a construction project is planned, a contractor is required. An owner can choose between a general contractor or a design-build agency, among other types of contractors.

A general contractor manages the construction part of a building project. It is provided with the design and then plans appropriately to complete the physical work of those plans according to code. A general contractor will retain subcontractors to perform the necessary carpentry, plumbing, and other specialty work. A general contractor has no input or participation with the owner developing the design documents.

A design-build firm must perform the same responsibilities and duties as a general contractor. The design-build firm, however, is also responsible for much more than those duties. The design-build firm oversees the entire project from start to finish, contributing both to the initial vision of the construction project to the final function and aesthetic appeal of the completed project.

Benefits Of Design & Build

Rapid delivery. As we covered in the Design-Build process section, Design-Build offers rapid delivery because design and construction happen concurrently and because there’s only one selection phase instead of two. The delivery method turns otherwise impossible timeframes into reality.

Continuity. A design-build firm is involved in the project from start to finish, which adds an inherent efficiency and effectiveness to the process. The chance of items being overlooked is greatly diminished.

Cost savings. Inherent to the design-build model is a savings of approximately 6% of the project costs. We will save the details for a future post but here is a quick snapshot of the cost savings: There are several reasons why the design-build delivery method works so well for new construction and major renovation projects, including many others not listed here. To learn more about design-build, its benefits, and costs, and if it could be a solution for your building, start a conversation with me today or contact your representative from Performance Services!

Expertise. Design-build firms are experts in both fields: design and construction. The principals should be licensed architects with formal architectural training and experience in the architecture field. They should also have professional experience in construction and understand pricing, sequencing, and how buildings come together. Expert design-build firms are knowledgeable of general construction and have strong, lasting partnerships with reliable subcontractors.

There is a tremendous advantage to working with architects who can think like builders and builders who can think like architects, but design-build is a commitment. A firm must be dedicated to the design-build process to ensure high-quality results and 100% customer satisfaction.

Let’s talk about your project

Our experienced Design-Build team is here to guide you through your project and provide best-value solutions for any challenge you may face. We ensure you get a great facility that meets your needs — on your budget and schedule. For expert Design-Build guidance, contact us here or call 425 620 47 37.