Design Build: A Model of Collaboration and Empowerment


As a continuation of our series about the delivery methods available for Owners, this post will focus on Design Build, a method that overcomes some of the challenges with CM at Risk.  This post will explain what’s involved with the method and the benefits and risks of choosing Design Build for your next project.

Understanding Design Build

With the Design Build delivery method, a single entity is hired that is responsible for both the design and construction of the project. This provides an opportunity for more collaboration in the planning phase of the project and allows contractor input earlier in the process. The Design Build team is then solely responsible for the delivery of the project. Most of the time, Owners turn over the majority of the risk and responsibility to the Design Build team to save time and money and are less involved in the day-to-day project activities.

The Benefits and Risks

Design Build provides the opportunity to realize cost and schedule efficiencies through increased collaboration between the design and construction team members. To optimize the efficiencies realized on the project, the Owner must fully empower the team by relinquishing some control and involvement.

This delivery method is similar to CM at Risk in that there is a single point of responsibility for design and construction. Additionally, there is only one contract for the Owner, omitting the need for mediation between the designer and the contractor as required by other delivery methods with separate contracts for each party. The streamlined planning, workflow and communication enabled by the Design Build method provides the opportunity for fast track delivery, as construction can begin before design is fully complete.

Is Design Build right for your project?

Design Build is a good fit for projects with clear goals and objectives and a fast track schedule. Teams are empowered to work efficiently and make decisions in order to meet deadlines. Therefore, it’s important that the Owner is comfortable with setting the vision for the project and then having a lesser degree of involvement in the day-to-day operations.

We will continue to discuss delivery methods and the benefits of each in future blog posts.

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