What is Design Build?

Design Build!         

When I’m asked what that means, it’s never just a short simple answer.

Sometimes I will compare it with the Design / Bid / Build method of producing a project.

Both methods have been used for centuries. If you do a Google search you will find all kinds of research on the subject both in favor and against both methods of delivering a construction project. I think it all depends on what kind of experience the Design Build Professional has. It used to be called the Master Builder System.

I like that name!

I personally have chosen the Design Build method because to me it makes the most sense. To me having one point person or entity responsible for both design and construction of a project representing the owner’s best interest makes the most sense. We then compile a team of experts in the field of construction that have the experience to produce a project on time and on budget. As General Contractor we then coordinate a project working together with a team so that we can control the construction process so the project stays on time and on budget. If something needs to be addressed, all the aspects of the issue are addressed. The costs, the time, the cause and effect the issue will have to the rest of the project. Always keeping the project moving forward is of great value to both the owner and the contractor.

Another reason I have chosen to go the Design Build route is that in our design process we pay particular attention to the existing conditions of a project. This has a huge effect on a projects budget and time frame. Many times we receive plans to bid a project and none of the existing conditions have been considered. Every year I meet with clients have spent thousands of dollars on plans looking for bids. Many of these projects never get built because of issues with existing conditions. The ones that do usually are designed way over budget then have to be re-designed, at additional costs.   This doesn’t happen with Design Build System.

The rise of design–build project delivery has threatened the traditional hierarchies and silos of the design and construction industry. As a result, a debate has emerged over the value of design–build as a method of project delivery. A recent example of this type of debate can be seen in the June 2011 issue of Construction Digital.

Critics of the design–build approach claim that design–build limits the clients’ involvements in the design and allege that contractors often make design decisions outside their area of expertise. They also suggest that a designer—rather than a construction professional—is a better advocate for the client or project owner and/or that by representing different perspectives and remaining in their separate spheres, designers and builders ultimately create better buildings.

My take on that is that designers very often design with out taking into consideration the job costs of their design leaving the client out on a limb. When the contractor or builder is involved in design decisions, a medium can usualy be achieved.  

Proponents of design–build counter that design–build saves time and money for the owner, while providing the opportunity to achieve innovation in the delivered facility. They also note that design–build allows owners to avoid being placed directly between the architect/engineer and the contractor. Under design–bid–build, the owner takes on significant risks because of that position. Design–build places the responsibility for design errors and omissions on the design–builder, relieving the owner of major legal and managerial responsibilities. The burden for these costs and associated risks are transferred to the design–build team.

                              My thought is that if the contractor takes on the responsibility of  designing a project. The design professional he or she chooses should be well qualified to deliver a project that not only meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. But at the same time produces a project that is with in the client’s financial expectations.

 

One Response to What is Design Build?

  1. Richard Gagnon February 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    Good article. I have always wondered just what Design/Build means to me as the consumer. Thanks for writing it!

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