Everything You Need To Know About Design Build

Everything You Need To Know About Design Build

Real estate developers, construction companies, and design contractors may find ways to excuse delays, but time is unforgiving. And time lost to delays, mistakes, and inefficiency in construction projects is never retrieved again.

And when it comes to the construction industry, lost time and delays can mean a lot of money being lost by everyone involved. 

Legal and contractual stipulations should clearly explain who owes who when delays are experienced; but they are never clearly defined in most construction contracts.

That is because the law has changed definitely over decades when it comes to lost time on construction projects. For example, between 1942 to 1968, if contractors lost money due to client-caused delays on government construction projects, they could recoup losses on those delays.

Those legal stipulations which limited contractor losses on government projects due to client-caused delays were weakened by 1968. However, by the 1990s, the legal tide turned again. Now, such legal language defining who must who after a construction delay is unclear and nebulous. 

Additionally, the burden of proving that a contractor is owed money after a construction delay they did not cause increased significantly. As mentioned, the legal language in construction contracts is currently nebulous or doesn’t mention it. 

So any issue regarding lost money due to construction delays, no matter who caused it, is referred to a local court, which may only benefit the side with the financial means to better legal counsel.

Why all the essential legalese regarding lost money due to construction delays? This basic legal primer can help you to better understand the benefits of the design-build construction method.

Research studies have proven that construction projects are finished at least 33% times quicker when construction companies employ the design-build construction method than when using the design-bid-build method.

Is your company putting together a design-build construction team? Consult the professionals at My Site Plan for site plans, floor plans, conceptual layout, subdivision designs, and marketing.

Now, let's fully define what a design-build and a design-bid-build construction team are and why you are better off going the design-build route.

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What is Design-Build?

The design-build construction method streamlines the conceptualization, design, construction, and delivery process of a project relative to the traditional design-bid-build method. For example, the conceptual designers, construction developers, and builders are all signed to one contract as a team.

When a design-build team is contracted, a construction project can begin before the conceptual design has been finalized. Every aspect of the construction team is working in unison, instead of as separate entities working from shared ideas and resources in different phases of work.

To better understand why the design-build construction method is a better way to conduct business in the construction industry, we must better explain the design-bid-build construction method.

What is Design-Bid-Build?

The design-bid-build construction method is the method most construction projects employ to complete a task. In this process, every aspect of the construction is contractually performed by separate entities obligated to work together.

For example, a client firstly hires site plan designers to draw site plans, layouts, and floor plans. The design phase is completed 100% percent before it moves onto the next stage, the bidding.

After receiving the completed designs, the client will then entertain bids from multiple construction companies. Then, the winning construction bid begins work on the project.

Design-Bid-Build Drawbacks

Construction worker holding rolled-up schematics in one arm


Each distinct phase of the design-bid-build construction method can take months or years to complete since they do not overlap. 

The design-bid-build construction method can be a bureaucratic nightmare because scores must be drafted and signed by scores or hundreds of separate but project-linked contracts. 

The clients or owners of the final project are exposed to a lot of financial risk in the design-bid-build method. Since project participants don’t work together and are separate by phases, individual mistakes, delays, and overruns will adversely affect everyone else in the project.

Additionally, a design-bid-build project could potentially become too big to succeed. If the construction phase encounters problems that require site plan redesigns, more money must be spent to re-hire the original or new designers.

And since everyone in the project completes their work in unconnected phases, no one is collaborating or on the same page about completing a project during construction. 

Mistakes, misunderstandings, delays, and overruns during the design-bid-build method can result in a lot of lost time, wasted money, and a delayed or unfinished project.

While the design-bid-build is the most traditional way that the construction industry conducts business, it is not always the best.

Benefits of the Design-Build Method

An enormous benefit of the design-build method is the management of cost. Since all parties involved are working in unison, construction budgets can be monitored in real-time instead of being continually and ineffectively reassessed in phases.

As mentioned, design-build construction projects are delivered 33% faster than with the design-bid-build method. Additionally, design-build construction projects usually end up costing 6% less to complete than design-bid-build projects.

A construction team working together in the design-build method is obligated to work in unison synergistically. All parties involved can ask the other questions or get clarification on data to perform work.

When design-build construction projects are initiated, collaborating teams usually stay focused and don’t deviate from plans. Studies have shown a 6% reduction in requested change orders when a design-build construction project is initiated.

Experienced, professional teams working together in a design-build project product bring out the best in each other. People become creatively competitive and want to produce the best final product. Design-build construction projects usually end up being of appreciably higher aesthetic quality than traditional design-bid-build projects.

Pick the Right Site Plan Design

Designers overlooking designs on laptop


Whether or not you employ the design-build or design-bid-build construction method is up to you. Every construction project is unique and requires a different process.

What cannot be denied is that the design-build method could be more beneficial to your overall needs in finishing a project on time and under the estimated costs. And most construction projects start with the conceptualization and design phase, so choose wisely.

Do you need help with developing site plans for your construction project? Contact My Site Plan today.

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Question Answer
What are some legal protections for contractors against client-caused delays in construction? To protect against client-caused delays, contracts can include specific clauses that define compensation terms and conditions. These clauses aim to ensure contractors are reimbursed for losses incurred due to delays beyond their control.
How can companies assess whether the design-build method is suitable for their project? Companies should consider the complexity and scope of the project, potential for changes, and the importance of timeline and budget. Consulting with industry experts and analyzing past project successes with different methodologies can also guide this decision.
What are the common causes of delays in design-bid-build projects? Common causes include miscommunication between distinct project teams, delays in one phase affecting subsequent phases, and administrative bottlenecks in approving and moving between stages of the project.
How do changes in construction laws affect project planning and contracts? Fluctuations in construction laws necessitate frequent updates to contract templates and increased legal oversight during the planning stage to ensure all potential liabilities and scenarios are accounted for.
What steps can be taken to minimize misunderstandings among teams in a design-bid-build project? Enhancing communication tools, regular coordination meetings, clear documentation of all phases, and employing a centralized project management system can help minimize misunderstandings and ensure alignment among different teams.
Are there specific training or skills enhancement required for teams working on a design-build project compared to design-bid-build? Teams involved in design-build projects often require cross-disciplinary training and skills enhancement to collaborate effectively across different stages of the construction process, unlike in design-bid-build projects where the focus may remain within specialized phases.

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  • Ryan Crownholm