Design-Build vs Design-Bid-Build

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One of the first things you need to decide on when building your new home or embarking on a home improvement project is the project delivery method. This article on project delivery methods by Dalia Sadany talks about the pros and cons of the two commonly used methods (Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build) as a guide to help you decide which best suites your needs. The article also provides useful tips on hiring entities offering Design-Build turnkey services and how to know which are genuine

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Design-Build vs Design-Bid-Build

  1. 1. DALIA SPEAKS In former articles ,I have elucidated on the Owners from then on had to contractually "Dalia Sadany ASK Magazines design disciplines of all team players in the process engage the services of an architect to of constructing your dream home such as perform design services and a contractor The Architect , The Interior Designer, The to perform construction services resulting consultant, Chief Designer & Founder of Dezines Landscaper as well as The Contractor in in what is commonly known today as the all his various practices .I have highlighted Design-Bid-Build project delivery method. Architecture & Interiors, Managing Director & the definition , the responsibility and the With it the specialization of services Partner of Decon Contracting as well as the job expectation of each one of the eminent increased and new professions emerged practitioners. A clarification was also like interior designers, interior decorators, creator of the new furniture brand GUSH is presented on the vital factors necessary finishing contractors, landscape architects, to be fulfilled in choosing the appropriate landscape contractors, etc. dwelling into the world of Architecture, Interior " professional, the most successful Design landscaping ,and Contracting. methodology in dealing with them and The late 20th century witnessed renewed broad rules of calculating their fees. interest in reviving the Masterbuilder method to address some of the flaws in We progressed In the previous article about Design-Bid-Build. As a result, a modern the legendary profession of the ancient version of the Masterbuilder emerged Masterbuilder and historical developments whereby an integrated team of design and through the ages leading to the emergence contracting professionals provide bothPicture credit by Ahmed Mleeg of the architect and contractor as two design and construction services under one distinct professions, as opposed to one contract in what is commonly known today eminent, capable individual. The rationale as the Design-Build project delivery method. that derived the necessity to dedicate that last article to the mythical Masterbuilder Throughout my articles I have always was the progressive will to explain to reiterated “Use Pros to do a Pros Job”. Building a new house 150 years ago the contractor to perform all the necessary you the two means of construction decision was simple – hire a Masterbuilder. design and contracting services till methodologies of Design-Bid -build known Today the same Owner has several options project delivery. In this context, the as DBB and Design and Build known to choose from. full service designer may employ or as DB. But before diving deep into this subcontract certain design specialists. controversial topic , lets recap the historical Likewise the full service contractor may development through the ages leading to employ or subcontract certain contracting reemergence of a profession where the Which Pros to Hire? 1. Hire the Maximum Pros Needed: In this specialists. Contractually this means two architect and the contractor would be a sole Option shown in Diagram-1, the Owner Design and Construction contracts till entity known as Masterbuilder but applied hires a specialized design pro and a project delivery. practically as a singular unit that applies specialized contracting pro at every stage today the method of DB. 3. Hire One Pro: In this Option shown in of the home building process thereby using the maximum pros needed. Contractually diagram-3, the Owner hires one entity this means several sequential Design-Bid- (or an integrated team of designers and In ancient times well into the 19th century contractors) to perform all design and Build contracts till project delivery. HISTORY & TRENDS the Masterbuilder worked with the contracting services required till project project Owner providing both design and 2. Hire Two Pros: In this Option shown completion. Contractually this means construction as one seamless service. in Diagram-2, the Owner hires one full one Design-Build contract till project To perform one without the other was service designer and one full service delivery. unheard. Although some craftsmen like Michel Angelo took on separate design contracts and others like Leon Battista Alberti (Italian Architect and Author) wrote about establishing the art of architecture as a profession distinct from engineering and construction, it wasn’t till the Industrial Revolution that the separation was made possible. The reasons for this included an increased demand for design expertise as well as the trend toward specialization and division of labor. This was supported by the emergence of professional societies such as the American Institute of Architects (AIIA) in 1857 as well as formation of architectural colleges and passing of architectural licensing laws in 1897. The separation was made absolute in 1935 with the passage of the Miller Act which required contractors on federal projects exceeding a certain amount to post performance and payment bonds. The implication was that project 18 ASK OCTOBER 2012 ASK OCTOBER 2012 19
  2. 2. DALIA SPEAKS specifications before bids are solicited contractor. Accordingly the designer from pre-qualified bidders. In the design is impartial and looks out for Owner’s phase the designer would have spent interest till project delivery. months and sometimes up to a year with the Owner defining project requirements 5.Easier to Bring in Own Subcontractor (preferred style, needs, requirements, The Owner is significantly involved budget, etc) and incorporating it in the throughout the building process. design before the Owner was satisfied Accordingly project Owners can bring with final outcome. This means that there in their preferred subcontractors to the should be no room for uncertainty about project with relative ease compared what the Owner wants and what the to the Design-Build method. However, contractor is required to do. it is important to note that bringing in own subcontractor lengthens delivery 2.Competitive Bidding Lowers Cost schedules and could jeopardize the The construction contract is awarded by flowing workmanship of all contractors competitive bidding to the lowest bid. hired under the general contractor. First, the Owner pre-qualifies contractors after going through a careful selection process. The pre-qualified bidders are 1. Owner Involved in Conflicts and Disputes Disadvantages of Design-Bid-Build then motivated to give their lowest bid Responsibility for quality and project because they know they are competing delivery is shared between designer and with others and that price is the basis of contractor. Since design and construction selection. Moreover since the project is of a new project is a complex undertaking fully defined pre-qualified bidders don’t conflicts and disputes between the have to increase their bid to allow for designer and contractor is not unusual. contingencies. in back and forth between designer • Joint venture or partnership between a “Finger pointing” is common occurrence with each blaming the other. One major and contractor due to errors and design and contracting company 3.Relative Ease of Assuring Quality Control omissions in the design drawings andContractually Option-1 and Option-2 are source of conflict is errors and omissions During construction the awarded contractor material specifications as well as design The first two forms are more common insimilar in that they are both Design-Bid- The Owner sends out the complete set in the workshop drawings and material strictly adheres to and follows the residential type projects with the last with • Bid Phase:Build formats with the difference only of design drawings and specifications to specifications. The Owner is usually alterations and change orders. detailed workshop drawings and material commercial projects.being in the number of contracts the Owner several pre-qualified contractors to present drawn into these conflicts and ends specifications prepared by the designer. 4. Costs Unknown Until Late in the Processadministers till project delivery. On the bids awarding the contract to the lowest up paying the price of correcting the The critical aspect is that the Owner Accordingly the designer can easily The designer prepares cost estimates asother hand Option-3 is a Design-Build bidder. situation. contracts with a single entity, offering a control quality during site inspections design work progresses, typically whenformat. Therefore having decided to work single point of responsibility over design by comparing what is required with the workshop drawings and materialwith pros the first thing the prospective 2. No Constructability Input in Design and contracting till project delivery. Contractor builds the project in strict what has been done. If the documented specifications are 100% complete. Whilehome Owner should do is decide which Process This simple difference transforms the requirements are not met, it is up to the •Build Phase:method to use. Should he or she use adherence to the set of design drawings The awarded contractor joins the project this may give the Owner an indication, and material specifications under the contractor to correct the work at their there is no cost certainty until the design relationship between the designer andDesign-Bid-Build or Design-Build? And team after completion of the design contractor in Design-Build format from supervision of the designer. own expense. phase is complete and construction bidsif Design-Bid-Build should he or she use phase. By that time detailed workshop one based on one supervising the otherthe maximum number of pros or two? To drawings and material specifications received. By that time costs may exceed 4. Designer Looks out for Owner’s Interest budget leading to design alterations and (as in Design-Bid-Build) to one based onanswer these questions we first need to The designer is contracted by the Owner are complete and sent out to pre- collaboration and teamwork resulting infully appreciate the differences between qualified bidders. That means there is no change orders. 1.Project Fully Defined to design the project and supervise Advantages of Design-Bid-Build cost and time savings as well as betterboth methods. The project is fully defined with detailed execution. There is no contractual contractor input in the design process productivity. workshop drawings and material relationship between the designer and (costs, availability, methods, technology, etc) that could otherwise improve project As mentioned earlier the Design-Build What is Design-Build? design. project delivery method is the modernWHAT IS DESIGN-BID-BUILD?Design-Bid-Build is the most orthodox version of the masterbuilder system - the The Design-Build Processusable project delivery method. It is also 3. Slow Project Delivery oldest project delivery system in history. A. Preliminary Design:known as the traditional method despite As mentioned this version developed in • Design: Slow project delivery is one of the major Preliminary design prepared based on inputbeing around for only 150 years. In drawbacks of this method. Design-Bid- response to certain problems that emerged from Owner with constructability inputthis method the Owner enters into two Build is a sequential process lengthened over time in the use of the traditional provided by contractor factored in the designsequential contractual arrangements. The by the bidding phase. Further the design Design-Bid-Build method. to insure design fits and budget realistic.first arrangement is between the Owner phase could vary from a few monthsand the designer and the second between up to a year and sometimes more. In In this method the Owner hires a Design- B. Authorization to Proceed with Detailedthe Owner and contractor. In this structure the construction phase time is wasted Build entity to design and build the project Design:there is no contractual relationship between turnkey. Contractually this means onethe designer and contractor, and the owner single contract for both the design and Once Owner is satisfied with outcome ofis the laison between both parties. contracting instead of one contract for preliminary design the Owner authorizes design and another for contracting as in designer to start preparing detailed design.The Design-Bid-Build Process Design-Bid-Build.This method involves three separate The Design-Build entity (or integrated The construction phase commences as • Build:sequential phases as follows: designer contractor team) can take on portions of the detailed design become several forms as follows: available. The contractor purchases materials and equipment and startsDesigner prepares a complete set of design • Single company with in-house capabilities on the early construction work such• Design Phase:drawings and material specifications with as plumbing, electrical work, air-input from the Owner • One company subcontracting the other conditioning, excavation, etc.20 ASK OCTOBER 2012 ASK OCTOBER 2012 21
  3. 3. DALIA SPEAKS can opt out with relative ease and go to 2. Subjective Contract Award the Design-Bid-Build format if he desires. Because the project not fully defined the Moreover making alterations to design Design-Build format cannot make use of or material specifications during the competitive bidding where bidders bid on construction process can be done easily the same design. In the Design-Bid-Build compared to the Design-Bid-Build. method the designer’s contract making up 5-10% of project cost is awarded 4. Single Point of Contact & Responsibility based on subjective criteria (reputation, The Design-Build entity is responsible and experience, etc) while the contractor’s accountable for issues relating to quality, contract making up 90-95% of total cost and delivery schedule. Therefore project cost based on objective criteria the Design-Build entity is motivated to (lowest bid). In comparison in Design- deliver a successful project that meets the Build the contract is award totally based Owner’s expectations, budget and quality on subjective criteria like reputation, standards. Further having only one entity experience, qualifications and best value. to deal with makes for greater clarity of communication and reduces risk of 3. Contracting Cost might be Slightly higher misinterpretation of Owner requests. Design-Build entity is responsible for all Moreover Owner doesn’t waste time aspects related to design and contracting coordinating between several parties as and since the project is not fully defined in Design-Bid-Build. the Design-Build entity usually increases the costs on some items for contingency 5. Less Stressful To Administer purposes to cover unseen risks. In Design-Build the Owner is involved in the design process till satisfied with the 4. Designer Not Impartial The Design-Bid-Build method has its • Do you need to move in to your house • How many Design-Build projects have final outcome and authorizes designer As the designer and contractor are one advantages with the main disadvantages being: within 2 years? they done together (a good team to proceed with detailed drawings. The entity, the Owner cannot rely on the should have a track record of 5 projects1. Time SavingsAdvantages of Design-Build Owner is not involved in the contracting designer to be impartial and look out • More stressful to administer • Do you have a busy life and haven’t the minimum)First by combining selection of both process and does not have to go site for his interests during the construction As mentioned earlier , the disadvantages of time to be 100% involved? designer and a contractor in one step, regularly. Further since the designer process. Under Design-Bid-Build, the the Design-Bid-Build method such as long • See portfolio and get into some details – Design-Build eliminates time lost and contractor are one entity there are designer will conduct site inspections, project delivery schedules, High risk of • Are you doing this project as an ask about the budget, cost overruns, work in the bidding process. Further this no conflicts and disputes to resolve or review bills of quantity and change orders, cost overruns and exceeding budget and investment? orders and delivery schedules, etc (see if method allows the entity’s contractor issues of coordinating between them as in and assist in resolving disputes between more stress to administer, these cons will anything doesn’t sound right) to start construction before the entire • Is the design you have in mind complex Design-Bid-Build. Owner and contractor. To overcome this be compounded if the Owner administers design is completed. Accordingly requiring close coordination of design • Try to contact Owners of previous projects risk some Owners employ their own several Design-Bid-Build contracts in one there is a significant fast tracking 6. Better Quality and construction expertise? and ask about their experience with them. adviser knowledgeable in construction, project (as in Option-1). The project will due to overlapping of the design and The Design-Build entity bears total increases costs and animosity that Design- most likely take a lot longer to complete, • Are you not familiar with the tedious construction phases which saves time. responsibility for design quality Build is intended to avoid. exceed budget by far and very stressful to details of either design , construction and Moreover the collaborative project and cannot shift errors in design or manage. Not to mentions the fees of hiring 7 their colleration and farnkly dont want to That was an objective unbiased management between the entity’s construction defects to a third party. 5. Difficult to Use Own Subs different pros is very expensive. On the plus be neck-deep into them? thorough study of both formats, I designer and contractor means the For this purpose the entity’s designer The Design-Build entity is responsible side the Owner benefits from the maximum personally have worked on both work can be done faster and with fewer is greatly involved in managing the for issues relating to quality, cost and design and construction expertise he or she methods over the years , as well as problems. The resulting time savings construction process till project delivery. delivery schedule. Some Owners, for can get. Option-1 is probably more suited to separate design and contracting translates into lower costs and Owner Paying high attention to quality control one reason or another, have preferred Tips: How to select Design-Build a project Owner where: A lot of designers and contractors claim to assignments in several endeavors could move in to his new home earlier. and quality assurance is an important subcontractors (carpenter, stonemason, entity? provide Design-Build turnkey solutions. but as I am the first Egyptian female feature of this method. etc) they want involved in the project. In • Cost is not an issue2. Budget Management How to know who is genuine or not: Masterbuilder , and a genuine general the Design-Build format is notThe entity’s designer and contractor work • Delivery schedule not important advocate for the anti-segregation very flexible with regards to using subs together as an integrated team evaluating • Ask about the contract – must be one other than their own, but exceptions are of both design and construction alternative designs, material specs and • Has preference to use 2 or more pros in point of responsibility for design and made under strict guidelines. professions, with an accredited methods to tailor a solution that meets different areas of specialization but in the contracting education and over 15 years of Owner’s design and budget requirements. same field such as interior designer and experience in these fields , that Accordingly the construction cost is landscape designer • Meet both designer and contractor (see expertise has resulted in a more known earlier on during the design chemistry between them) Which Project Delivery Method broad perspective and knowledge process. Cost inputs are provided by There is no perfect project delivery • Ask about their history, experience and is better? of the entire ,more coherent and the team’s contractor according to the method. There are some advantages and track record individually and together Tips: How to decide which less client stressful, Design and designer’s specs and the Owner takes “go disadvantages to both delivery methods. Both Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build method best suits your needs? build process , with its obligations or no go” decisions early on. This ensures The project Owner has to appreciate the formats are applied to all project types from , hallmarks and taboos such as the that the Owner plays a key role in arriving differences before deciding which method small apartments to large villas and for new better suits his needs. necessity to keep the budgetary at final construction cost that meets his or home construction and renovation. If you constraints of the client as an utmost her budget. Consequently this reduces the answer “Yes” to any of the following then risk of cost overruns due to fewer design 1. Limited Assurance of Quality Control If a Project Owner requires one entity to importance and that during the Design-Build is more appropriate for you. Disadvantages of Design-Build alterations later on. Because the project is not fully defined be responsible for all aspects of the project construction phase , the architectural in detail (as in the Design-Bid-Build from start to finish then Option-3, discussed • Do you have a good idea of your and design integrity must be3. More Flexible method) at the time of contract with earlier, is the appropriate choice. However, requirements (design and budget)? maintained. These elements are theIn Design-Build the decision to proceed the Design-Build entity the Owner may if the Owner, for any reason, decides on bible of a professional, capable DB with project is done before substantial have limited basis to enforce the contract Design-Bid-Build method he or she is faced • Do you have a budget ceiling which entity to ensure a successful dream design cost and with early knowledge of and little control over the quality of with two options – hire the maximum pros is inflexible and need an early cost project evolving to reality. final project cost. Therefore the Owner construction work. (Option-1) or 2 pros (Option-2). commitment? You can reach me at my email daliaspeaks.ask@gmail.com22 ASK OCTOBER 2012 ASK OCTOBER 2012 23

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