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June 6, 2017 DesignConstruction

5 Benefits of the Design-Build Process

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The design and construction process is complicated. Even the simplest buildings have complexity.  Potential complexity extends from technical building details to the soft skills of managing the owner, designer and construction team through the process.  By utilizing Design-Build, complexities may be reduced by aligning two potential adversarial entities in the service of the building owner.

What do we mean by adversaries? Historically, there has existed a rather divisive relationship between designer and contractor. Think about it. The traditional process doesn’t necessarily promote cooperation and in fact, may encourage an adversarial association. You design, bid and then build. Invariably, there will be problems, but since the two groups don’t work together, there is little opportunity for synergy and much less opportunity for a successful outcome to the project.

The traditional approach of Design-Bid-Build is where design, engineering and construction services are split into separate entities, separate contracts and separate work. The Design-Build model, in contrast, is defined as a method of project delivery in which one entity—the Design-Build team—works under a single contract with the project owner to provide comprehensive design and construction services.

Between 2004 and 2008, The Design Build Institute of America (DBIA) reported that the use of Design-Build spiked from 29 percent to 36 percent. During the recession, it continued to grow and has remained steady at 40 percent for the past three years. A 2015 DBIA study found that more than half of projects above $10 million are now being completed through Design-Build project delivery.

It’s worthwhile to admit that Design-Build isn’t always the right project delivery method for every product or owner. Design-Build is especially beneficial for technical buildings or companies with multiple properties/facilities or proprietary processes. If your company has ongoing expansion plans over an extended period of time and chooses to utilize Design-Build, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel each time you need to build or renovate a facility.

If your business fits in any of those categories, you may advance to the highlight of this article: Benefits of Design-Build:

 1. Communication is improved between designer, contractor and owner.

2.  Knowledge base about industry standards, regulations, schedule and/or clients’ expectations for projects is enhanced and equally shared among all members of the team. 

3.  The project delivery is handled under a single contract with the Design-Build entity, which manages all phases of the project, and provides a single point of contact and coordination for the client.

4. The project schedule can be reduced because the design and pricing are developed simultaneously, eliminating need for multiple value engineering and pricing cycles. 

5.  Incorporating the construction expertise at the project onset ensures strict adherence to the budget and schedule and determines constructability of design.

I don’t know many clients who simply want set of drawings. They want a building. Design-Build will deliver both by integrating the design and construction processes, understanding the owner’s needs and expectations and executing a successful project faster and of higher quality than they could have imagined.

Click on this link to download A M Kings whitepage entitled “Benefits of Integrated Design-Build .”


John Koury
John Koury
John Koury is a consulting architect for A M King, providing inspiration and guidance for AMK Design Group. With 25 years of experience in the niche markets of food processing, cold storage distribution, and industrial manufacturing, he thrives on complicated design challenges. Koury excels in material selection, functional space layout, and client/constructor interactions. His practice is based on the belief that regardless of the size of the building, it must relate to the inhabitants, users, and the process within.
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