There are three primary project delivery methods for design and construction services in America today: Design-Bid-Build (DBB), Construction Management at Risk (CM) and Design Build (DB).
Design-build places full accountability for architecture, engineering and construction in one set of hands. Although capable of providing project implementation under any methodology, Summit Smith prefers the design-build methodology because it results in a shorter schedule, a more integrated and operationally efficient facility, lower costs and a better overall value.
The Chief Advantages of Design Build Are:
With all services delivered by a single entity, there is one point of accountability. The design-builder is motivated to deliver a successful project quickly by fulfilling parallel objectives. With DB, the owner is able to focus on scope/needs definition and timely decision-making rather than on coordination of architect and builder.
The singular accountability extends to warranties and post-construction issues – motivating the design-builder to produce a facility that meets performance objectives. (In DBB, the Owner warrants to the contractor that the specifications are complete and free from error, thus assuming responsibility for the architects work, and creating a potentially contentious arbitration process if issues arise.)
With a single team with a successful history working and communicating together, the evaluation of alternative materials and methods is built into the design process. Value engineering and constructability are utilized throughout the process and applied to a singular goal – developing a project that is aesthetically superior and cost efficient.
Design and construction are overlapped in the design-build process, bidding periods and redesign are eliminated because of the up front coordination – this significantly shortens the project development time. Often referred to as “Fast Track” materials and equipment procurement and construction work can begin before the construction documents are fully completed. Fast-tracking saves time and money and results in an earlier occupancy date.
Early and Firm Costs:
Guaranteed construction costs are known before construction documents are prepared, providing an earlier decision point for the owner. The decision to proceed with the project is made before significant expense is incurred, and with the full knowledge of the final costs and schedule.
Improved Risk Management:
Cost, schedule and quality are clearly defined and risks are appropriately balanced – change orders due to “errors and omissions” are virtually eliminated, because the design-builder has responsibility for it all.
By knowledgably pursuing design quality and by effectively controlling costs and schedule, a design-builder makes certain that concept-to-completion is more than idle discourse, it is a reality carved in stone.