Design-Build Experience: The client-focused model.

Design-Build (D-B) is a project delivery system that includes planning, design, and construction under one contract. D-B is the idea of partnering the right team, from the start, to help get to a completed project successfully and provide the highest satisfaction to the Client/Owner.

Imagine a sports team. You pick teammates you know you can collaborate with, trust, lean on for support and, win the game with.

3 distinctive characteristics of Design-Build approach.

  • Efficient communication: being able to communicate in one channel speeds the entire process which improves your project schedule and further reduces the risk of additional post-construction costs.
  • Business without boundaries: you have no physical or geographical boundaries getting in the way of your timeline.
  • Building customized products: the ability to quickly produce products that are custom and not your prototypical replications.

A Design-Build Team is usually made up of people who have worked together before. They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and can build off that knowledge to make the process more streamlined and successful.

Advantages of Design-Build.

  • Builds Teamwork
  • Single Point of Responsibility
  • Open/Transparent Communication
  • Eliminates Adversarial Conditions
  • Not Restricted to Building Types
  • Faster Project Delivery

The D-B team usually consists of the Client, Construction Manager or General Contractor, Architect/Engineers, MEP & FP D-B Subcontractors and Suppliers.

The D-B approach allows for early collaboration where all team members work together through the beginning stages of the project, with each bringing their design and/or construction expertise into the mix. Sometimes a design problem has a construction solution while the same can be said for the opposite.

In order to provide a successful construction project, it is important to have an effective and organized site supervisor. The five points mentioned above are essential for a smooth-running job site.

“Getting everyone together early allows all team members to share their ideas for creative and innovative solutions, which can lead to faster project delivery and best cost value with a lone source of responsibility”

The roles of contractor and designer are integrated to allow the architect to spend more time on the project. Both of these factors directly relate to eliminating adversarial conditions by using a single contract between the Owner and Design-Build Team.

The D-B Team forms a unified front that helps create an enjoyable working experience for everyone involved. There is no blame game or finger pointing when something goes wrong. Rather, there is a shared responsibility for the design, budget, and schedule, which brings the focus directly to solving the issue at hand as a unified front.

With everyone’s input and ideas from the beginning, the D-B Team is able to produce a highly customized and quality product for the Client/Owner.

Design-Bid-Build vs. Design-Build

In contrast, the Design-Bid-Build approach is more complicated than the Design-Build approach because the Client/Owner must work with two separate contracts, one for design and one for construction. This may create problems throughout the process because there is not a single source of responsibility. If a problem arises, the architect and contractor may blame one another rather than work together to find the best solution. Whereas with the Design-Build approach everyone is on the same side and has the same amount of responsibility if a problem arises.

There is no “I” in team.

The Design-Build approach cannot be just one person. It is a group of teammates participating to achieve the same goal. It doesn’t matter how great a super star you are, you can’t win the championship game without your teammates. It’s the same with Design-Build, you can’t complete any quality project on time or within budget without your team. The Design-Build approach breaks down the silos that are typical in the A/E/C industry. The approach is based on brainstorming, collaboration, trust, mutual respect and shared leadership.

Source “Advantages to Architects with Design-Build Approach” by Ray Caruso (C.E. Floyd Company, Inc.), Tom Peterman (Peterman Architects), Steve Ceglarski (The Wyatt Group) and Ron Brodeur (Wayne J. Griffin Electric, Inc.) at the 2015 ABX Conference in Boston.