When you’re in the beginning stages of planning your commercial construction project, you have to choose how to move forward. You can either hire two separate firms to handle design and construction or go the design-build route.
While both options have drawbacks, the pros of a design-build approach far outweigh the cons. Keep reading to learn how design-build projects work and the benefits of choosing one contractor to manage your project from start to finish.
Design-build construction projects use one firm to manage and coordinate everything from finding and approving a design team to hiring subcontractors. In a traditional design-bid-build project, you would hire a design team for pre-construction, and they would draw up plans. Then, you would accept bids from general contractors before choosing a separate team for construction.
Both design-build and design-bid-build projects typically fall into three stages: pre-construction, construction, and post-construction. In a design-build project, you can move freely between phases, but you have to pause between pre-construction and construction with a traditional method of delivery.
The design-build approach is the fastest-growing project delivery method in the country, comprising nearly half of all construction projects. That’s because design-build projects come with a whole host of benefits. Keep reading to learn the top five.
By choosing the design-build project delivery method, you can enjoy:
According to the Design-Build Institute of America, design-build projects are 36% faster than design-bid-build projects. A few reasons for these faster timelines include:
- An easier transition between pre-construction and construction: While your architects and engineers work on drawing plans, your construction team can start securing permits, estimating budgets, and choosing subcontractors. That means the construction process can move forward as soon as your plans get approved.
- Input from the construction team during the design phase: If your design team chooses a complicated installation method or a material that’s difficult to work with, your construction team can let them know ahead of time. Both teams can work together to find alternatives and prevent construction delays before they happen.
When you sign two separate contracts with a design and construction team, it doesn’t give them the opportunity to collaborate on cost-saving solutions. Instead, the design team makes plans without the input of the construction team, and subcontractors follow those plans—even if they aren’t the most cost-effective.
When you choose one design-build team, they can estimate costs from the very beginning and pivot if the original design goes over budget. You can decide on cheaper materials now instead of delaying construction with several change orders later.
A project’s design and construction phases may seem completely separate, but they shouldn’t be. The concept and execution of your construction idea go hand in hand—which is why both teams should be involved from the beginning.
In a design-build project, your construction team can evaluate a design team’s plan and suggest practical changes. Your design team can also help troubleshoot issues once construction begins, yielding better results across the board. Plus, your design-build contractor will likely have an existing relationship with their architects and engineering team, and they can use past projects to inform their current decisions.
Being a project owner is stressful enough without having to deal with the responsibilities of a project coordinator. But when you go the design-bid-build route, you have to ensure you and your design team are on the same page, find a reputable general contractor, and keep everything moving between project phases.
The design-build delivery system is a perfect choice if you want to leave the hassle of finding project teams and managing schedules to a construction expert. Once you sign a single contract with a design-build firm, they’re the only team you have to communicate with throughout the entire project. It doesn’t matter if you have questions about a design choice or a subcontractor’s schedule—you can call your design-build contractor and get the answers you need.
You can also be as involved as you want during the design-build process. If you prefer to take a hands-off approach and let your contractor handle everything, you’ll be able to. But your point of contact is always there to discuss ideas and give updates if you prefer to play an active role in the project.
Experienced design-build contractors have spent years overseeing commercial construction projects and know how to streamline steps that would typically cause headaches. They can prevent common delays and roadblocks that a segmented project would cause. Ultimately, that results in fewer unexpected costs and timeline changes—two issues that are common in commercial construction.
- In a design-build project, you sign one contract with a company that oversees every stage of your project, from pre- to post-construction.
- Design-build projects typically move faster than traditional projects due to fewer delays and a smooth transition from design to construction.
- Design-build contractors keep project costs low by including design and construction teams in pre-construction planning.
- Design and construction teams can collaborate more effectively with a design-build approach, leading to better solutions.
- You have a single source of contact in a design-build project, making it easier to keep track of progress.
- Design-build contractors can avoid common roadblocks and streamline segmented processes.
It’s not always easy to choose the right design-build contractor to manage every aspect of your commercial construction project. If you’re looking for a company with nearly a decade of experience working with the country’s top healthcare, retail, and manufacturing companies, turn to Connor Construction.
We’ve mastered the design-build process and earned a reputation for completing projects on time and under budget throughout the Mid-Atlantic and beyond. Get in touch to learn more about our design-build process or discuss project ideas with one of our team members.