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What is Design-Build? A Guide on Everything Worth Knowing

Roof of a commercial building with a external units of the commercial air conditioning and ventilation systems

Construction projects are designed, completed and carried out in a variety of ways. And, typically, the project owner chooses the method in which construction and design will be carried out, whether it’s a traditional method or design-build. While each option has its benefits, the design-build method is by far the most popular in the United States.

To better understand this method and why it is the go-to option for most companies, let’s take a look at all the design-build process entails. 

The Design-Build Process

When looking to decrease costs and speed up delivery during the construction process, many professionals in the industry look to the design-build methodology in order to complete the project without sacrificing the quality of work. With design-build, there is just one contract for services and the company that you hire will either perform all of the services in-house or will subcontract out certain specialized services to other companies.

Design

At the start of a design-build project, the project owner hires a company to design their project according to their specifications. This designer is expected to complete every aspect of the design work and edit that work accordingly (while maintaining constant contact with the construction team).

 

Build 

Once the terms of the contract are settled, work can begin. With design-build, the obligation and risk are all placed on the original contractor. So, if the project is not complete (or should something go wrong), that original contractor is held responsible. 

Types of Design-Build Projects

When looking at which design method to utilize for your project, one must take into consideration how the design-build method saves both time and money. 

Public Projects

Years ago, the design-build process was not the method of choice for public projects. However, its popularity has grown considerably in recent years. All of the costs associated with the project are out front, and everyone involved in the project has the same information. There are no hidden expenses, and the project can move through the build process without delay. 

Private Projects

One of the biggest perks of the design-build method (when it comes to the private sector) is that the project owner has one point of contact for all questions – whether related to design or construction. This gives the customer more control over their project while not having to communicate through multiple channels/organizations/professionals.

Risks and Rewards of Design-Build

Overall, design-build is the most popular method for construction project completion. Like everything else in life, however, not everyone agrees with the data. 

Critics of the design-build method claim that the process sets the stage for contractors to make decisions outside their area of expertise, while proponents counter that design-build brings value engineering into the design process at the onset of a project. 

In fact, one major reward from using design-build is the fact that both the contractor and the designer are on the same team. And, often times, contractors have valuable input when it comes to potential flaws in design or process. 

With the design-build method, contractors are teamed with the designer so that potential issues can be flushed out faster. Being flexible and allowing your contractors to have input during the design can help alleviate issues arising after the design has been finalized.

Design-Build for Commercial Roofing

Design-build isn’t just easier—it’s better. It streamlines the commercial roofing process; you sign one contract and have one point of contact from start to end. With the designer and the contractor on the same team, solutions to your roofing problems are addressed quickly and without conflict. In fact, in comparison to the traditional design-bid-build delivery method, design-build speeds delivery by about 33.5 percent.

At TEMA Roofing Services, our decades of experience give us the insight to understand that no roofing project is “standard.” Change can—and will—happen. By using the design-build method, we anticipate possible change-orders from the outset of design discussions, issuing one solid contract price to our clients. 

In addition, because only one contract is signed with the design-build method, you don’t have to involve outside architects or engineers (or worry about the fees and delays associated with their conceptual plans). This lengthens the process and increases the cost as they put their designs out to bid with document preparation, pre-bid meetings, contract selection, negotiation and so on.

Commercial Roofing Project Completion

There are always risks when it comes to starting a new project, and there are very few instances when a project runs perfectly from start to finish. But, the design-build process has been tested and tried over hundreds of years (if not THOUSANDS of years) in the construction industry and remains such a trusted process because the rewards heavily outweigh the risks. 

Design-build allows for construction to begin immediately after plans are approved (because the designer and contractor are a team). This time-saving aspect is one of the biggest draws of this particular method, and at the end of the day, every project owner’s goal is to complete the project on time and within budget.

For more details on how we can help with your next construction project, visit our website or give us a call at (330) 272-0988 for more information.