Is a Design-Build Contractor the Best Option?

Best One and Only Design – Is a Design-Build Contractor the Best Option?

eifel tower

Although the Design-Build model of construction contracting is considered a rather recent development, it is actually a more traditional way of doing things than the more commonly used Design-Bid-Build model.

Design-Build was used for thousands of years until the second half of the Nineteenth Century, when Design-Bid-Build began to be the standard way of contracting for construction projects.

The difference between the two models is that under Design-Bid-Build, the designer, architect or engineer is contracted independently of the builder.

Under the Design-Build model, the architect is an employee or subcontractor of the firm that is contracted to build a project.

building design

Design-Build is becoming more popular among organizations that need commercial and industrial facilities built because they find that it reduces their own administrative and legal costs and headaches.

The design of a facility is incorporated into one contract instead of two. This means that an organization needs to find only one organization to design and build a project.

Some studies have shown that a Design-Build process can significantly reduce both the time it takes to complete a project and the overall cost.

This may be because designers and builders work collaboratively instead of being adversaries. The builder can save time by getting many of the basic processes of a project underway while the architect is designing the project.

The architect or designer of a project has the benefit of familiarity with a contractor’s past projects.









The architect knows about the contractor’s relationships with vendors of materials and subcontractors. The contractor and the designer can collaborate to make a construction project cost effective for their client.

designer apartments

Organizations that are considering contracting a commercial or industrial facility built may want to weigh the cost and time benefits of a Design-Build contract against possible drawbacks.

There were reasons that the Design-Bid-Build system came about.

If architects and contractors are hired separately from each other, they can provide a system of checks and balances to keep each other honest and grounded in reality.

A designer working independently of a contractor can make it more difficult for a contractor to build projects that are not up to building codes or that use substandard materials.

Contractors that do not have an in-house designer or architect may be able to make a client aware of several architects or designers when presenting a portfolio of past projects.

This may help the builder prevent the loss of a contract if the client does not like the designs of some of the builder’s past projects.

Contractors that use a Design-Build may lose some contracts simply because potential clients do not like the aesthetics of the architect’s past projects.

A good contractor should be able to tell a client that just because a design looks impressive, it does not necessarily mean that it is practicable.

However, an in-house architect may have his or her creativity stifled for the sake of cost savings.

The decision to use a Design-Build contract may depend on the size and complexity of the project and the reputation of the contractor.

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author and founder of Best One and Only Design.