Although there are some benefits of design-build, they are mostly for the builder, not the buyer.

Wikipedia defines design-build as, “a construction project delivery system where, in contrast to ‘design-bid-build’ (or ‘design-tender’), the design and construction aspects are contracted for with a single entity known as the design-builder or design-build contractor.” Design-build allows for better communication and faster turnaround time and is most used for smaller projects.

As outlined by MUHLENBERG GREENE ARCHITECTS, there are 5 key issues every owner should consider for a design build project.

  1. Accountability
  2. Budget Management
  3. Communication
  4. Scheduling
  5. Quality Control

Accountability comes into play because overall there are less eyes on the project and less hands on specs. It is a draw back for the Architect because they work for the contractor, meaning they may have less of an input on the designs. You also lose the checks and balances system.

Because bids are not used, the budget can be discussed through the design phase. Although this also can be a bad thing because without competition for the lowest bids, construction costs can be higher.

Communication has the opportunity to be stronger in design-builds because members are part of the build from the beginning. However, because of the nature of the relationships, sometimes tensions are higher between builders and designers.

Overall design-builds are better at getting completed on-time/quicker. Bid time is reduced in design-build so projects can be completed quicker. In addition, construction phases can be overlapped verses the traditional step-by-step process.

Quality control in design-builds is also better due to the team’s involvement from the beginning and the builder’s ability to make changes to the contract quickly. However, quality control also can be lost with the lack of checks and balances between the builder and designer.

To read more about design-build click here.

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