POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF DESIGN-BUILD CONSTRUCTION DELIVERY
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Single point accountability - this means that if the owner has issues with the project he has only one source to go to for resolution (design-builder) instead of two (designer and contractor).

Better quality design - in traditional design-bid-build scenarios the design team is designing a project in somewhat of a vacuum, without the benefit of the contractor's perspective on the process. The contractor brings the heightened perspectives of construction feasibility, site access, scheduling sequence and value engineering to the design process. Also, in design-build, the design team typically answers to the builder creating an additional level of accountability for the perspectives referenced above.

Reduced if not eliminated change orders due to errors or ambiguity in design - In traditional design-bid-build, the owner is responsible for the designs their hired consultants produce. If the designs include errors or ambiguities leading to differences of interpretation, the owner may be exposed to change order costs to the contractor. While the owner has the right to go back to the designer for some recovery of these costs, the right is seldom exercised. In design-build, the design-build entity (typically the contractor) is responsible for design, and therefore, assumes the financial risk of any potential design errors or ambiguities. This element of design-build can often lead to reduced overall cost of the project.

Increased level of partnering and/or cooperation among the team - The traditional design-bid-build scenario can often lead to adversarial roles between designer, contractor and owner with each entity acting first to secure its own interests. The designer attempts to maintain the integrity of the initial design and the designers' reputation, the contractor attempts to maintain its initial profits from time of bid, its initial interpretation of plans and specifications and uninterrupted sequence of work and the owner attempts to receive its project at a certain level of quality, on time and within budget. With each entity starting with a somewhat different motive, it is easy to see how relationships can deteriorate and focus can be lost. In the design-build scenario, the entire process is much more transparent. The contracting phase and initial selection of the design-build entity is typically more of a value-based selection including overall price, qualifications and experience rather than just low bid. The initial selection criteria forms the basis for the trust necessary in a design-build effort. Each of the phases of design is a much more collaborative effort among the design-builder, its design team and the owner. This collaboration helps insure a more goal centric process relative to project quality, schedule and budget.

Potential timesavings - the design-build process can be a much quicker process than traditional design-bid-build. First, design-bid-build delivery requires the design team selection phase, several levels of design and approvals, bidding and contracting phases for selection of contractors and finally the construction phase, which often may be extended, based on change order facilitation. In the design-build process, the selection of the design-build entity is similar to the design team selection. Based on the complexity of approvals, design can be completed in phases to allow start of construction well before final documents are complete. Also the bidding and contractor selection and contracting phase are eliminated. Finally, the overall construction period may be condensed or at least maintained due to reduction in change orders.

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Wes,
I don't know who wrote that but as an LA involved in Design/Build for 27+ years, I agree with most if not all of it.
However, one downside I've seen is that a Design/Build-LA/contractor can, after a time, design toward the strengths of their workers and abilities. If they are good and fast at paver installation they may hesitate to install dry-laid bluestone or another material that may be more appropriate for the project. Similarly they may have "x" number of a particular plant available in their yard, well "design them in" on the next job. If a designer can remain true (you define that) to a design and not to what is easiest/most profitable, I think the Design/Build option is of benefit in many cases.
Wes & Jonathan - excellent discussion & perspective on Design-Build. I am both a student and a fan, as I see the opportunity to increase value provided to the customer while ensuring the design vision is honored. When everyone is focused on balancing quality, schedule & cost...the possibilities are endless.

Building on the discussion: Which Design-Build Project Delivery Method? Check out the Power Point recently presented at the DBIA Annual Conference

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