What Is Design-build Construction?

Over 50% of construction projects used design-build in 2021. While the term is commonly used in the construction industry, what exactly is it and what are the advantages of design-build over other construction methods? Read on to find out.  

What is Design-build?

Coordination between different teams and stakeholders is a common issue in construction. A lack of communication delays project timelines and costs the project owner money. Design-build is a delivery method which solves for this problem and facilitates better coordination. With design-build, team members and information-flow is organized in a way which fosters communication and collaboration. 

Under this delivery method, all teams work under one contract instead of contracting out each team individually. The owner of a construction project only contacts one person, often a contractor. This person then coordinates between different teams, such as plumbing, structural engineering, architecture, and more. Since the project owner only has one point of contact, information is able to flow faster and the one person with industry knowledge can negotiate a lower price and faster timeline with each project team. 

Design-build vs Other Methods

Design-build is one of the newest delivery methods in construction, yet it has quickly become the most effective. A recent report from the Construction Institute suggested design-build is faster, delivers higher quality projects, and is more cost effective than the two other most popular methods, design-bid-build and construction manager at risk. 

The Design-Build Process

The design-build process has five main steps with collaboration and efficiency being at the heart of each:

  1. Select the team: your contractor or project manager will choose the team. Team members include architects, engineers, construction teams, and more. 

  2. Plan the project: once the team is assembled, the contractor will collaborate with you to create the best plan for your time frame and budget. A maximum price will also be established during this stage so the project doesn’t go over-budget. 

  3. Design the project: The team works together to build a design of the project. Usually, your contractor will present this design to you for review at this stage.

  4. Construct the project: once the design, timeframe, and budget are agreed upon by all parties, construction will commence with open communication between teams.

  5. Completion: thanks to the design-build process, the project is completed on-time or early and within the initial budget set.  

Is It Right For Me?

Design-build is the most effective construction method and is ideal for a variety of projects. As we’ve discussed, it fosters collaboration while cutting costs and getting projects done faster. The only real disadvantage is for those who like complete control over a project. As a project owner, you have to give over almost all decision making capabilities to the project manager or contractor. However, it’s important to keep in mind a contractor is an insider in the industry and works with you to get better deals than you could have gotten on your own. 

As with any decision, it’s best to talk over your options with a professional, such as the team at Carlton Building Services. Feel free to contact us anytime with questions about design-build or any other construction process. 

Carlton Building Services in Hampton Roads Virginia

Carlton Building Services specializes in repairs, maintenance, renovations, remodelings and build-outs for a variety of clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, and Chesapeake areas. We have years of experience handling projects in the retail, office, and healthcare space and would love to work with you on your next project!

To learn more about our services, check out past project highlights or contact Carlton Building Services to see how we can help with your next project. 

JP Carlton

J.P. Carlton

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