What is a Design-Build and Why choose It Over the Design-Bid-Build Process

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Design Build and Design Bid Build are two very different construction delivery methods used in today's building process.
According to Wikipedia,
Design/build: Under this method, an owner typically hires a single entity, the design/builder, to perform both design and construction under a single contract.
Design-bid-build: This is the most traditional process in the U.S. construction industry, where the owner contracts separately with a designer and a contractor.
What does all of this mean? Is one method superior to the other? Determining which project delivery method is one of the most important decisions made by every homeowner starting a construction project. Having a good understanding of the choices available and the importance of each choice is important because of the impact on the three parties involved: owner, designer, contractor. Project considerations such as budget, schedule, design process, and risk assessment will impact the delivery method selected.
In the Design-Bid-Build, (DBB) the owner has to find each company separately, the architect and general contractor have no connection until the plans are placed up for bids. This traditional U.S. project delivery method involves three sequential phases: the design phase, by the designer of record for the project, the bid phase, when a contractor is selected, and build or construction phase, when the building is done by low bid contractors. Because of this lack of integration, it takes more time for the project to be completed from start to finish. Each phase must be completed before the next phase is started.
Additionally, in Design-Bid-Build there are two separate contracts: owner to designer and owner to contractor. Although this method is widely used and understood, the owner has a huge responsibility for the success or failure of the end product. The contractor and designer work directly for the owner. Not having construction input into the design may limit the effectiveness and viability of the design. Also, the types of materials specified and the construction methods may be made without input from the construction perspective because there is no contractual relationship between the contractor and the designer, and there is no opportunity for collaboration during the design phase. The owner is responsible for "gaps" between the plans and specs and this may cause adversarial relationships rather than than cooperation among the owner, contractor, and the designer.
In the Design-Build (DB) method, there is a joint venture between the general contractor and the designer. There are two prime players: owner and design-build entity. There is one contract, owner to design-builder. This makes for one point of contact by the owner, the design builder. Responsibility for design and construction of the project to meet the performance standards set forth by the owner in the contract is the design-builder.
There is greater cost savings because the contractor and designer are working together throughout the entire process resulting in fewer changes.
Design builders have access to the most recent construction costs resulting in designs which are created with the most cost-effective materials and methods. Because all parties are agreed, this allows fast track schedules and on-time delivery. Eliminating the bidding process can save a significant amount of time because site preparation can begin prior to the finalization of all building details.
Design Build is less risky to the owner because only one entity is held accountable if problems occur. Change orders are usually limited to owner changes. If the owner has questions or concerns, they will only have to contact the design builder.
Despite the fact that Design Bid Build is the commonly used project delivery method, the advantages of the Design Build method make this delivery method easier, faster, cheaper, and with less risk to the owner.

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