The Ultimate Guide to Design-Build

The Ultimate Guide to Design-Build

Design-build enhances the efficiency of construction projects by uniting the entire team, from architect to general contractor to subcontractors, under one contract. Under this structure, everyone included under the contract is considered part of the “design-build” team. They become one entity and work through the stages of the project in a unified workflow, from conception to completion.  


You may have heard of design-build under a different name. It is also known as design/construct and single-source responsibility. This process is employed in the United States and around the world. It is utilized to successfully build office buildings, schools, stadiums, transportation, and water infrastructure projects.

Design-build serves as an alternative to design-bid-build. Under that process, design and construction are split. Design is handled under one contract, while building falls under a separate one. Since the mid-2000s, design-build has grown in popularity across the United States. In fact, this project management method represents one of the most significant trends in building design and construction today.

Contract, One Integrated Team

The Design-build method enhances communication, reduces rework, and streamlines project delivery. With the owner and the whole design-build team united under one contract, designers, the general contractor and subcontractors are all in on the project from start to finish. They collaborate from the beginning, which prevents wasteful redesigns and rework on the job site. 


Under the design-bid-build model, designers often create a concept that cannot be practically delivered on budget. Once the bidding process reveals this, redesigns must be completed. Also, contractors may not fully understand the designers’ intentions, leading to mistakes on the build site that must be corrected. By using the design-build model, the team works together across the entire project, eliminating these inefficiencies.

Fast Delivery

Collaborative project management leads to earlier completion dates and fewer problems along the way.

Cost Savings

Team integration results in enhanced efficiency and innovation.

Higher Quality

Design-builders focus on high standards, not minimum design requirements. Often, this results in innovations that deliver a better project than initially imagined.

Singular Responsibility

One entity is held accountable for cost, schedule, and performance. The team must pull together for overall success. No more one entity blaming the other. They sink or swim together.

Decreased Administrative Costs

Owners can focus on the overall project rather than running between different entities.

Reduced Litigation Risk

By closing warranty gaps, owners virtually eliminate litigation claims.

Contractor Benefits

Higher Profit Margin

Because the team is integrated, they are equally committed to controlling costs.

Decreased Administrative Burden 

Design-build streamlines communication. Designers and builders stay on the same page, resulting in shorter completion times and superior results.

Reduced Litigation Risk

Contract disputes can cause a rupture on the relationship between owner and contractor, resulting in devastating litigation. Many times, this occurs because of fundamental misunderstandings and miscommunication during the bid and contracting phase. Design-build keeps everyone on the same page, so there are no disputes later.

With all the benefits of design-build, more and more owners want to employ this method. Contractors who embrace design-build can capitalize on this desire to increase market share.

Carlton Building Services General Building Contractors in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services provides general contracting services for the Hampton Roads Virginia area. The company specializes as a general contractor general contracting for medical facility remodeling, office renovation, and retail space rehab. Visit the Carlton Building Services website for examples of high-quality construction.

If you need a general contractor for commercial buildings in Hampton Roads Virginia, contact Carlton Building Services.

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

J.P. Carlton is the founder of Carlton Building Services, a Hampton Roads-based construction company.