In traditional methods of construction, the following phases – design, bid and build are involved. Owners have had to hire an architect who would in turn come up with a blue print according to requirements provided by a customer. Several stages were involved and some of them include preliminary stage where design criteria, layout, outline of specifications, utilities and permitting agencies were done. During actual design, submissions were made in stages – at 60%, 90% and 100%.

Changes and comments are made in each stage before approval. Once approval has been signed and sealed, building contractors are invited to submit a bid. Limited time is offered to contractors not only to review but to submit their bid. When a bid is accepted, planning and building begins. One problem associated with traditional design-bid-build framework was lack of accountability. For example if problems arose with functionality or construction, contractors would blame it on designs while designers would blame it on defective construction.

With the design and build approach, owners can benefit from a great delivery system ensuring that they attain desired results.

What is design-build?

This refers to a project-delivery system where one entity comprising of design-build partners works under a single contract with an owner to provide both design and build services. As a modern approach to delivering superior results, it involves processes that re-integrate the role of a designer and constructor making it a great method against traditional design-bid-build delivery system. Today, design and build has delivered horizontal and vertical projects with superior results.

How does it work?

With the design and build method, owners manage only one single contractor with a single point of responsibility which means vendors and sub consultants are managed effectively. This process allows your project members to provide insights into office fit out costs and constructability of different designs. Final results are – sound designs, refined budgets and a streamlined time table.

Here is how it works

Step One - Choosing a Design-Builder

As a first step, you have to select a designer and builder. Since its aim(design and build) is to save, a great method to use is qualifications based. What does it entail? It simply means you have to look for professionals who are experienced, skilled, knowledgeable and work as a team. You can also use best value method where you will get to select a candidate through a combination of estimated price and added value in addition to skills, knowledge and experience. It is wise to sidestep hard-dollar low bid selection because design and build professionals provide best value and create continuous price estimates as tasks progress.
By using hard-dollar low bid selection, it will result in uncertain estimates. Furthermore, it will mean the plan will not provide what you desired.

Step Two – Pre-construction assessment

This is a crucial stage as it sets the road map to a successful job. The phase includes business and financial-assessments where your pre-construction members get to know more about your company plus your expectations. Architects and engineers will begin architectural, mechanical and electrical system analysis plus reviews of existing floor plans. They will also assess interior room finishes, structural systems, fire and smoke preparations too. Critical information is gathered by design and build partners while surveyors make a field assessment of your site before readying for construction. This assessment defines vital items like topography, area climatic characteristics and re-usable natural resources at the job site among others.

With this in mind, project members will be able to identify right facilities, design and build programs enabling you to achieve your goals within your budget and constraints. Now that a scope has been set, creative solutions can be implemented helping you as the owner to realise your vision.

Step Three - Architectural-design

Now that your pre-construction assessment is successful and your design and build members have a better understanding of all requirements like schedules and costs, it’s time to join up with an architectural partner to value engineer-costs into your design. Your selected design-build group can employ architects directly or sub-contract tasks to trusted partners. They will work under a single contract as design-build members together with engineers, building professionals, sub contractors and vendors finally adding value to your project.

One common method used to come up with a great design is business information modeling. It is used to model early stage designs where data oriented costs and schedule estimates are shown. Owners are able to specify performance requirements and make informed decisions. Thanks to this, costs are lowered and value is added to your project. The selected members will work in fluid collaboration and finally, owners will receive guaranteed maximum price, complete plan schedule and contract drawings.

Step Four - Actual construction

Using architectural-design as a guide, construction can begin. When your design process was on track to completion, your design-builder partner was readying your construction-site. Thanks to overlapping of both processes – design and construction- your plan will be delivered on a timely basis. It will be accessible to a building team, specialty sub-consultants, materials and vendors as you would with the traditional design-bid-build procedure. But unlike a traditional approach, design-build processes will ensure fast completion of your plan thanks to a clearly defined scope with accountability.

Step Five – Post construction

Post-construction inspection must be done before the official hand-over of the project to the owner. Your design-build-team will also provide instructional videos, walk-through and offer hands-on training to you and your management team. Since it is a critical phase, it should not be by-passed.

Advantages of design-build

Improved quality

Team work is enhanced in design-build tasks. This leaves the owner to focus on project’s scope and general decision making. Final result is a high quality plan that suits all your needs in many ways. The process of building can be reviewed throughout a design process by all members of your design-build team. In turn, it results in effective value engineering finally maximizing on design and functionality.

Cost savings

Since value engineering and constructability review are enhanced, it helps to save on costs. Early involvement of your design-build members ensures that decisions are made during concept and design phases as it will impact set schedule allowing you to save on costs.

Time savings

The design and build processes overlap allowing fast tracking of construction. Thankfully, the owner benefits from shortened time frame since costs will be lower plus the final building will be available for use sooner.

Single point of responsibility

Design, building quality, costs and schedules are combined into a single point of responsibility. This process fosters partnering between members adding value to your project. It also helps members to evade adversarial relationships which may have arisen in a case like traditional design-bid-build process.

Establishment of guaranteed costs

The process enables contractors to establish guaranteed costs early. Thankfully, it ensures that changes, request for additional value engineering or scope addition is made by you before any substantial design is done.

Final Thoughts

Every owner has one goal in mind – to have a fully completed building with all fittings and fixtures in place ready for occupation.When it comes to the traditional approach, it was extensive and increased projects costs as there were many steps and teams involved. Management was not easy because owners had to oversee architects and others like materials, sub consultants and vendors.

With design and build approach, owners are able to save on costs. Thanks to its many advantages like single source of responsibility, higher quality end results, cost-effective solution, no costly waste of time, reduced owner administration, overall decreased costs and teamwork, this process is well suited for modern construction. Other benefits include budget management where owners play a role in determining final price plus quality control where ambiguities are removed. Furthermore, owners get to pick qualified and experienced players who have the best interest at heart assuring you of a successful project.