Design Build, Part 1: History of Design Build

Design Build has increased in popularity as the project delivery system of choice. In fact, this project delivery system is so popular that in California there are many new laws which encourage this type of construction. Considering the rising interest in this PDS (project delivery system), many people are wanting to learn more about design build.

What is Design Build?

Construction project owners have always wanted certain things. They want timely and cost effective construction. There are many views on which project delivery system is the best to achieve these goals, as well as consider scheduling, budget and quality. In the last few years more and more focus has been placed on project delivery systems in order to better pin point specific methods that that will achieve these goals in a systematic way. Traditionally, Design Bid Build was the most common PDS being used. However, experience is showing that the Design Build option is a quicker and more cost effective way to get the owner what he really wants. Design-build is sometimes compared to the “master builder” approach, one of the oldest forms of construction procedure. Comparing design–build to the traditional method of procurement, the authors of “Design-build Contracting Handbook” noted that: “from a historical perspective the so-called traditional approach is actually a very recent concept, only being in use approximately 150 years.

Design Build methods offer simplicity in what could otherwise be a very complex project. When the owner has a single point of contact for construction and design of their projects, there is less confusion. The other significant feature is that there is less stress on the owner as the risk for design errors is shifted to the contractor rather than the owner.

Advantages of Design Build

Another significant bonus is that the design build model saves much time. With fewer people involved, there is less time wasted in confusing communication between parties. Researches on Selecting Project Delivery Systems by Victor Sanvido and Mark Konchar of Pennsylvania State University found that design–build projects are delivered 33.5% faster than projects that are designed and built under separate contracts (design-bid-build). The fact that fewer people are involved is significant in that historically this is not the way construction projects have been handled. In the past, the owner was dealing with many people on many different levels working on many different aspects of the construction project. This contributed to confusion, and eventually a slower schedule. Sanvido and Konchar also showed that design–build projects are constructed 12% faster* and have a unit cost that is 6.1% lower than design-bid-build projects. Design build models have attempted to alleviate some of this confusion and take some of this stress off of the owner so that the owner can think about other aspects of their business or building project.

Design Build History

Several decades ago, a few innovative construction companies, such as econstruct, began presenting their clients with a design-build model. Although at first many were resistant to the idea of one entity handling their entire project, many clients found the simplicity it offered to be quite attractive. With simplicity always comes decreased costs. Design build eliminates many steps and even eliminates people from a project that are not necessary. When steps and extra people are eliminated, projects can flow more smoothly.

Over time, many well-known construction companies have adopted the design build model and found clients converting to this new project delivery system. Today, it is the PDS of choice. econstruct and its project managers are proud to be one of the top early adopters with decades of experience under their belt. Visit us online to learn why the design build model is best for you.