As we defined in our previous post, the two different ways to structure a project (commonly referred to as a project delivery method) are Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build.

Design-Bid-Build is considered the traditional project delivery method and has some clear benefits.  The most commonly discussed is that, during the construction phase, the architect acts as the owner’s agent. For example, the architect reviews the contractor’s bills for accuracy and acts as an advocate for the owner if there is a dispute between the owner and contractor. In theory, under the traditional method the owner is more protected from construction problems because the architect only role is to make sure the contractor builds the design according to the plans. But is that really the case?

As we’ve said before, Design-Bid-Build relies on separate entities, with separate motivations, working towards a common goal.  However, that statement alone has some inherent problems.  The architect is put in the position of policing the contractor without any contractual relationship between them.  It seems that makes the likelihood of conflict increase.   And any conflicts will eventually cost the owner money.

Design-Build, on the other hand, is attractive because it provides a single point of responsibility to the owner.  This is a huge advantage to the traditional method because if there is a problem, there is only one entity the owner has to turn to for resolution.  This is especially the case on smaller, less complex projects.  Also, by removing the coordination between the design and construction entities, projects are often completed faster with Design-Build.  Although not always the case, faster can also lead to cheaper.

Ultimately, although Design-Bid-Build provides more layers of oversight between the design team and the construction team, supposedly to eliminate errors and the possibility of corruption, Design-Build provides a more direct and efficient process to deliver a successful project.