Common Delivery Methods

Learn how Design-Build stacks up against other project delivery methods and why it’s the lowest risk option for you.

Design-Bid-Build

High Risk

design-bid-build graphic
High Risk

High Risk for Owners
High Time Investment

Pros
  • Competitive Pricing – Bid to several general contractors and suppliers. Good if lowest price is the sole criteria of buying decision.
  • Clear Scope of Work – The scope of work is decided prior to final plans being completed and issued for bid.
  • Commonly Used Process – The most traditional delivery method used so it is widely adopted and understood.
  • Works well for large organizations that have buying power and internal resources that can be dedicated to the management and procurement of design and construction vendors for long periods of time.
Cons
  • Reduced Quality – No contractor input during the design phase of the project. Bidders may not be the most qualified to do the work.
  • Change Orders – Higher risk for change orders due to incomplete or unclear scope of work.
  • Limited Collaboration – No opportunity to design to a target budget.
  • Delays & Cost Overruns – Higher risk of schedule delays due to redesign when bids come in over budget. No opportunities for early clash detection.
  • Lack of Input – No owner input for trade partner selection.
  • No Value Engineering – Construction team is not given the opportunity to propose solutions that could save time and money.
  • Reduced Savings Opportunities for Owner – All cost savings are kept by the construction team. No open-book accounting.
  • Owner Expertise Required – Not a good option for novice construction clients or smaller organizations.

Construction Manager At-Risk

Moderate Risk

ModerateRisk

Moderate Risk for Owners
Moderate Time Investment

Pros
  • Condensed Schedule – Early construction manager involvement allows for earlier start-up and schedule
    compression.
  • Owner Input – Owner input on all trade partner and vendor selections.
  • Cost Clarity and Certainty – Construction manager manages the budget throughout design and construction.
  • Enhanced Quality – Construction Manager provides input on constructability, materials, and equipment that may save money.
  • Collaborative – Owner, construction manager, and design team work together.
  • Competitive Pricing – All trades are competitively bid to qualified trade partners ensuring the best value for owners.
  • Negotiation Opportunities – Owner can negotiate contractor’s general conditions and fee.
  • GMAX – Guaranteed maximum price and scope of work are set prior to construction.
Cons
  • Small Pool of Qualified Firms – Construction groups with experience delivering projects in a design-bid-build format may lack pre-construction expertise and resources.
  • Owner Time Investment – Requires more owner resources.
  • Additional Support Required – Not the best fit for smaller organizations that do not have the ability to dedicate staff to the process.

Design-Build

Low Risk

Low Risk

Low Risk for Owners
Low Time Investment

Pros
  • Single-Source of Responsibility – One entity is responsible and accountable for managing due diligence, design, budget, schedule, and performance to reduce owner risk and maximize value.
  • Decreased Owner Burden – Owners can focus on their core business, maintain involvement and detailed knowledge of the project, without dedicating internal resources to manage.
  • Owner Input – Owner input on all trader partner and vendor selections, contracts.
  • Reduced Risk – Design-build team assumes additional risk, shifting risk away from the owner.
  • Better Quality – Design-builder meets performance needs, not minimum design requirements.
  • Competitive Pricing – All trades are competitively bid to qualified trade partners ensuring the best value for owners.
  • Cost-Savings – The integrated and streamlined structure of the design-build team is more efficient than other delivery methods.
  • Not a One-Size-Fits-All, But Fits All Sizes – Works well for both large and small organizations.
Cons
  • Small Pool of Qualified Firms – Construction groups with experience delivering projects in a design-bid-build format may lack pre-construction expertise and resources.