Traditional construction projects are set up as a design-bid-build. This means that the owner hires a design team consisting of architects and engineers to brainstorm his new project and create drawings. Once the drawings are complete, the owner puts the project out for bid, and selects a general contractor to build the new structure.
A design build method of project delivery works quite differently. Under this method, the owner hires a design build firm, often a general contractor, who manages the entire project on his behalf. The general contractor meets with the owner to understand his budget and what he wants out of the project. The contractor then takes this information to an architect and engineer, who he hires to complete the design. When the design is complete, the contractor builds the project, with no bidding required. This project delivery technique is growing in popularity as owners realize its many advantages, which range from cost control to simplified communication among the project team.
On a typical construction team, the owner, contractor and design team often find themselves at odds, acting as three separate entities working to protect their own interests. In design build the contractor represents the owner, and will fight for the owner's best interests for him by handling any problems among the design team members. Design build also comes with less coordination; if the owner wants to make a change, he only has to contact his contractor, who is responsible for communicating this change to the design team.
In design build, the contractor sees the plans as they are generated, allowing him to spot potential problems before they can slow the schedule. Being involved during the design process also allows the contractor to get a jump on ordering long lead items, and even to set up certain contractors, deliveries and field offices in advance of construction. The design build process is associated with a 12 percent faster construction speed then the average design-bid-build project.
Construction can often turn into a blame game when design build isn't in place. The design team may blame the contractor for scope gaps or other issues, while the contractor places this blame back on the designer, all of which results in headaches for the owner. Design build eliminates these headaches because the owner only has to deal with one contract. All work, including both design and construction, are covered by that contract, which means fewer scope gaps and reduced arguments.
Units costs are about 6 percent lower on design build jobs than on traditional projects. This is largely due to the fact that the contractor knows the budget up front, and can help to tailor the design process to this budget more accurately than any designer. This saving also comes from the immediate value engineering that takes place when the builder is involved very early on in design.
The average owner likely has only a limited knowledge of construction and design. Going with the design build method gives him a qualified expert acting on his behalf from the very beginning of the project. Design build also means there are two sets of skilled eyes -- the designer and builder -- watching as the plans take shape, and looking out for potential problems.
Contact a company like Ford Construction Company to learn more.Share