In this approach, the owner contracts with a single firm — the design-builder — who provides services for both design and construction. The design-build contractor provides these services through its own employees or subcontractors. The design-build contractor can also provide support as a developer should the owner require assistance in finding financing or sourcing land. Through this method, the design-builder, architect, engineer, and contractors are all united to serve the interests of the owner. Typically, the design-build contractor is paid on a cost-plus-fee basis. Alternately, the owner and design-build contractor can negotiate a fixed price to execute the project.

Design-Build vs. Design-Bid-Build Design-build offers many advantages over the traditional general contracting, or design-bid-build, experience.

Owner Advantage #1: Save Money

  • The design-builder provides input on cost during the design phase, allowing stakeholders to evaluate the cost of designs during conceptual development.
  • A budget estimate for the project can be readily determined early in the design process.
  • Because people are working as a team, professional services fees can be more effectively managed and determined early in the process. Professional services include architectural and engineering fees, contractor fees, and legal fees.
  • Construction costs are minimized, thanks to the construction manager’s input on the effectiveness of the means, methods, and techniques to be employed during construction.
  • High-cost change orders are significantly reduced or even eliminated.

Owner Advantage #2: Save Time

  • Fast tracking and a reduced schedule are possible, because construction activities can begin before all aspects of the design are completed.
  • Project completion dates can be more accurately predicted.

Owner Advantage #3: Get Better Service

  • The owner can benefit from special services: feasibility study, life-cycle cost analysis, and value engineering.

Owner Advantage #4: Experience Better Relationships Through Teamwork

  • Stakeholders in the process work together as a team to complete design and construction for the benefit of the owner.
  • Stakeholders produce better results thanks to the team approach to completing the project. They focus on resolving problems, rather than casting blame.