Using the Design – Build method of project delivery offers many advantages and benefits to the owner.
With both design and construction in the hands of a single entity, there is a one point of responsibility for quality, cost, and schedule adherence. The design-builder is motivated to deliver a successful project by fulfilling multiple parallel objectives, including aesthetic and functional quality, budget, and schedule for timely completion. With design-build, the owner is able to focus on making timely decisions regarding scope and needs rather than on coordination between their architectural team and their builder.
The singularized responsibility inherent in design-build serves as a motivation for quality and proper project performance. The owner’s requirements and expectations are documented in performance terms and it is design-build entity’s responsibility to produce results accordingly. The design-builder warrants to the owner that it will produce design documents that are complete and free from error. During the construction process this attention to quality does not end, as the designer becomes the master builder, and manages the construction of the project to completion.
Design and construction personnel, working and communicating as a team, evaluate alternative materials and methods effectively and accurately. Value engineering and constructability are utilized continuously and more effectively when the designers and contractors work as a team during the entire design process.
Because design and construction are overlapped, and because bidding periods and redesign are eliminated, total design and construction time can be significantly reduced. With design-build, material and equipment procurement and construction work can begin before the construction documents are fully completed. The resulting time savings translates into lower costs and earlier utilization of the completed facility.
Reduced Administrative Burden:
During procurement, the potential exists for design-build to reduce the owners administrative burden. During actual design and construction, the owner is not required to invest time and money in coordinating and arbitrating between separate design and construction contacts, but rather is able to focus on timely decision making.
Early Knowledge of Construction Costs:
Construction costs are known far earlier than in other delivery systems. The entity responsible for design is simultaneously estimating construction costs and can accurately conceptualize the completed project. Staged contracting for design-build services affords the owner one or more “go, no-go” decision points during design. The decision to proceed with the project is made before substantial design expenditure and with knowledge of final project cost.
Improved Risk Management:
Performance aspects of cost, schedule and quality are clearly defined and responsibilities/risks are appropriately balanced (individual risks are managed by the party best positioned to manage that risk). Change orders due to “errors and omissions” are virtually eliminated, because the design-builder had responsibility for developing drawings and specifications as well as constructing a fully-functioning facility.
Everyone is on the same page with design and construction needs always keeping the owner’s budget and schedule at the forefront.
For a successful project, it is critical for the owner to hire an experienced design-build contractor with a history of experience in this type of project delivery.
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