Pros and Cons of Design Build

How to make a decision about whether to use a Design Build or Design Bid Build approach


Design-Build construction is a type of project where the design-build team works with the owner under a single contract to provide all the design and construction services, rather than splitting the work into separate contracts over multiple entities. Of course, with everything, there are always pros and cons to each.

Construction projects using a design-build (DB) approach tend to be more budget-friendly, offer faster timelines, and have lower risk of issues. In DB projects, building design and construction are completed within one group, making it much simpler to troubleshoot issues that come up during construction. Building stages are often completed at an accelerated pace because construction can move forward even if designs are still being finalized on parts of the project. Budgeting is also easier to plan because the whole project is estimated through one team providing fairly accurate results.

Design-Bid-Build (DBB) projects, on the other hand, generally have lower prices, offer more creativity, and have more owner involvement. In these projects, you can bid from multiple sources and create a team based on the price you want to pay. The drawback to that is when construction challenges occur, you may end up having to spend more money than expected to address them. Another benefit is that the owner has much more involvement and freedom to change any part of the construction or design team if he/she is not satisfied with their work without having to restart the project.

The best way to make a decision about whether to use a DB or DBB approach is to determine what is most important to you: Control over the project? Seamless communication and workflow? Price? Timeline? By answering those questions, you will have a better idea of which way to go.

We recently interviewed Forrest Popkin, Senior Project Manager at Zavos Architecture and Design, about the Pros and Cons of Design-Build. His answer? “[In any project], you have all these parties involved – architects, owners, engineers, general contractors, etc. At the end of the day, there’s a lot of acrimonious relationships that end up coming out of construction. The reality is this: If you find the right team with the right chemistry, and you get a good workflow, and everyone knows it’s for the good of the project, Design-Build can actually be much better than Design-Bid-Build. It really depends on the project, but I’ve had quite a few Design-Build projects that have gone exceedingly well. And I’ve also had some that didn’t. The next time you are considering a certain project type and delivery method, it’s good to keep both of those things in mind.”

To watch Popkin’s short video in full, click here.

If you are a hotel owner or General Manager considering a renovation project in the near future, don’t hesitate to send us a project bid or contact us to learn more about how we make every project a Partner Grade Experience for our clients.

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About Triple Crown Construction:

Triple Crown Construction is a Partner-Grade provider specializing in pre-construction, commercial construction and hospitality renovation. This allows you to focus on driving revenue while we focus on your construction projects.

Since 1991, TCC has provided expertise in delivering successful turnkey solutions to its clients across the nation. Efficient processes and cutting-edge technology has enabled TCC to maximize client value while minimizing project pitfalls. A core team of Estimators, Project Managers and Superintendents provide guidance and support to a network of TCC Certified subcontractors. Nestled in picturesque Frederick County, MD, TCC is an active member of the community, routinely participating in local events and charity programs.

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