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For Cost Savings & Quality Control Choose the Design-Build Method for Your Next Construction Project

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

As a building owner or facilities manager, there are two methods to get your building projects from start to finish, and they are the design-build method and the design-bid-build approach.

Research studies and decades of experience by commercial general contractors point to design-build as the superior approach if you want to maintain quality while saving time and money. Design-build promotes a more collaborative work environment, reduces uncertainty, helps keep costs from skyrocketing and gives you confidence the project will be completed in the most efficient way possible.

Design-Build vs. Design-Bid-Build

With the design-build method, the owner or manager of the property assigns all responsibilities to a single company to oversee not only the architectural design but the building construction. Design-build is truly a collaborative process between owner, designer and builder that takes many of the headaches and frustrations away from the property owner. Rather than working separately in isolated silos, a united design-build team goes about resolving differences as they arise so they don’t contribute to a project getting behind schedule or leading to cost overruns.

By contrast, the design-bid-build method requires the owner to stay on top of the project throughout the entire process with its many complexities. For example, the owner has separate contracts with both an architect and builder, and will first get the design approved before bidding the project to a contractor. This process unfolds smoothly some of the time. However, in other cases, this compartmentalized approach without the collaboration from the contractor can create a disconnect between what looks good on paper and what actually works best in the field. A contractor may be required to work from a set of drawings that need to be modified or redesigned altogether before ground can be broken. Cost overruns may ensue.

Additionally, for design-bid-build the lowest bid is often chosen for each step, helping the owner save money but potentially leading to inferior workmanship.

More Advantages of Design-Build

It’s all about intelligent control of a job. The company in charge of the design-build process is able to work efficiently by seeing all parts of the process at once. By seeing all designs and costs from only one perspective, the project can be carried out quickly and without undue changes throughout the process, as is sometimes the case with design-bid-build projects.

In fact, having one entity in charge of the entire process speeds much of the work up and eliminates many of the communication problems that are intrinsic to commercial construction. The design-build team will easily be able to see how your budget stands and ensure that quality control is adjusted as needed throughout every phase of the project. It is in your project manager’s best interests to stay connected to the project at all phases to ensure the best possible outcome.

What the Research Shows: Times They Are A Changing

There is plenty of research to support the benefits of the design-build approach overall. For example, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) has shown that design-build projects outperform design-bid-build projects at staying on schedule, reducing overall costs and decreasing the amount of work that has to be redone.

Regardless of your overall budget for your next commercial construction project or how large the project is, design-build is clearly the ideal choice for the greatest efficiency and cost savings.

HGCI's Design-Build Approach

HGCI uses the design-build approach to bring its customers the best value. We call it a 3-D approach. Our design-build approach is about paying attention to quality, cost and scheduling so exceptional work is produced from start to finish. Learn more.

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