Design Build Construction discussed in detail.

Design Build stands at a crux, when it comes to construction project delivery because of its efficiency and collaboration. By eliminating the traditional fragmentation of participation of various entities in a construction process, Design build construction method streamlines communication, accelerates the speed and in turn the timelines and enhances project success.

What is a Design Build Construction Delivery Method?

Design Build (DB) build construction delivery method, in simple terms is a notion. A concept in which when all the stakeholders i.e. architects, builders, engineers, contractors, etc. are on the same table and the same page brilliant ideas can be designed and executed.

A construction delivery method is a process in which a construction project is executed and managed. There are different types of construction delivery methods. Assessing the difference between them and knowing which method to use for a project determines a project’s success.  

The 5 most widely used construction delivery methods are- 

5 most widely used construction delivery method

Traditional Method: DBB method, where the owner contracts separately with the designer and the builder.

Design Build (DB): In this method, single entity is responsible for both design and construction, streamlining the workflow.

Construction Management at Risk (CMAR): Construction manager is appointed early in the process to assess project risk and collaborate with the owner and the design team.

Job Oder Contracting: Indefinite quantity contracting for multiple projects based on pre-established unit prices.

Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC): Multiple contractors are pre-selected through competition to bid on specific projects and/or their tasks under a single contract.

Every construction delivery method has its own set of characteristics. But when we are aiming for efficient delivery, cost and quality assurance and flexibility, the Design Build Method in Construction takes precedence because of its characteristics, namely, 

  • Design-build services provide a vertically integrated process of project completion. Which means, a single source i.e. a firm or an entity designs and executes the project from start to finish. 
  • Design build construction offers a single point of contact to the owners for both the construction phase and the design phase. One entity can be appointed by the owner, also known as the “Design Builder”, who manages everything from estimation, pre-construction to subcontracting, post-construction, etc. all under contract. They single-handedly manage all contracts with companies, vendors and suppliers.  

What are the 5 phases of the Design Build Process?

5 phases of the Design Build Process

Design build construction process has 5 major phases of execution. However, unlike the other construction delivery methods, which have multiple entities working, the phases in this single entity method run parallel as the project progresses.  

Due to the fluid nature of the design build process these phases might overlap during the project planning and execution. All the project participants and their teams work together during each step of the process to help move things along rapidly and smoothly.

Phase 1: Design Build team selection

  • The first step for the design build construction is for the owner to select the right design build firm offering D/B services and expertise that aligns with the vision and budget of the owner.   

Tip for the owners: Evaluation of the cost is a major factor. But the owners should keep in mind that although there is a tempting low-cost option available, going for the D-B firm with optimum design build experience and skills is always going to be beneficial in the long run. 

  • This is necessary as often, the design-builder selection process can overlap with the pre-construction planning stage as a skilled design build professional might have already done a significant amount of research and analysis of the project site.

Phase 2: Pre-construction planning stage

  • This phase encompasses initial planning and activities before design work commences. Maximum attention to detail is to be given in this stage as it involves defining project goals, establishing budget and schedule parameters, conducting site evaluation and feasibility studies, etc.  
  • The stakeholders collaborate closely with the client to assess the current situation of the building services and systems and set the project on the right track. 

Tip for the owners: Owners should note that this is the right time to ask as many questions as you can so as to make your vision crystal clear with the design builder and achieve the expected results

Phase 3: Architecture design and functionality stage

  • The design build architecture phase begins once the project parameters have been clearly determined in the previous phase. This phase might also overlap with the pre-construction phase as crafting initial design strategy may have already begun. 
  • All the project participants work together to develop the project vision. The design build architecture team will work on optimized productivity and streamlined operations while considering functional requirements in this phase.  

Tip for the owners: At this stage the owners are presented with the pricing estimation and in turn with the final budget and all the established expectations. The designer and contractor will start working together. Hence the owners should keep in mind that there is no additional bid to be set for the project anymore.

Phase 4: Construction Phase

  • Once the design phase is finalized and approved, the project moves into the construction phase. This stage involves procurement of materials, site analysis and preparation, etc.  
  • Here all workers work on the same team and work towards the same end goals, which helps in rapid development as conflicts and differences in opinions are minimized and problems are resolved quickly and efficiently. 
  •  As design build construction method is a collaborative process the changes and reworks are minimal.  

Tip for the owners: Communication is easier and clearer with this method. Owners should know that the respective accountability is also established during this phase as there is only one point of contact- the design builder for the project henceforth. 

Also, construction risk management is important for the success and sustainability of construction projects. It involves identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks that could impact the project’s objectives, such as cost, time, quality, and safety. 

Phase 5: Post construction review

  • After the construction is complete, the construction project undergoes final inspections and commissioning by the design builder team to ensure that the final output meets quality standards and regulatory requirements.  
  • The D/B team provides the owner with all the necessary operations and management training materials like construction videos and documented procedures.  

Tip for the owners: Once the design build facility is completed, the team should provide a post-construction handoff including core construction documentation. Owners should not overlook the post construction handoff as it’s a critical part of the build

Why choose design build solutions?

A 2018 design-build utilization study by FMI stated that design-build accounts for nearly half of all construction spending and is anticipated to grow 18% overall by 2021.The owners’ experience with design-build construction was rated highest across all project delivery methods with 76% reporting excellent experiences 

Fast delivery speed

  • As the design phase and the construction phase are executed concurrently, design build projects have shorter delivery time compared to the other construction delivery methods.  
  • According to the survey conducted by CII (Construction Industry Institute) for faster delivery speed DB offered a mighty 102% faster delivery speed vs the traditional DBB (Design Bid Build method) and 61% vs the CMAR (Construction Management at Risk) method.  
  • For faster construction, the Design build method offers 36% faster construction vs DBB and 13% faster than the CMAR method. 

Communication and collaboration

  • Design build method fosters close collaboration and communication among all project stakeholders.  
  • Delivering a successful design build project requires maintaining a team-oriented approach which assures transparency and clear transfer of information. 
  •  All the team members are on the same page when it comes to D/B construction as everyone is under the same contract. And owners are kept updated by a set contact from the Design-Builder.  
  • As a result, Design-Build can be considered well suited for the most complex jobs, as it simplifies them, so owners realize better quality, require fewer claims and receive litigation-free builds. 

Risk mitigation

– Design build contracts often include provisions for risk management, such as fixed price contracts and performance guarantees. This helps mitigate risks associated with  

  • Cost overruns 
  • Schedule delays 
  • Design errors 

This approach ensures greater certainty for project delivery.  

The integration of 4D BIM Scheduling and 5D BIM Cost Estimation into the process provides significant benefits in terms of project planning, communication, risk management, resource optimization, and cost control. 


  • Design build construction method ensures transparency throughout the project execution.  
  • Owners can access the design and construction processes including costs, schedules, and project milestones, as they are done by systems under the same contract.  
  • This transparency fosters trust and accountability among the project parties. 

How is design build solution cost effective?

Design build is the best performing construction delivery method when it comes to cost and time.

According to the CII/Pankow survey, design build outshines all the other delivery methods as stated below: 

  • When it comes to unit cost the design build is expected to cost 1.9% less per square foot vs CMAR and 0.3% per square foot compared to DBB. 
  • Design build not only gets the project executed withing budget it also provides results on time, which in turn increases the cost efficiency of the method.  
  • As per numbers mentioned in the CII/Pankow survey, the design build method is expected to have 3.9% less schedule growth vs CMAR and 1.7% less schedule growth vs the traditional DBB method.  

Due to the uncomplicated nature of the design build method of construction delivery, owners and stakeholders can reduce time spent managing the building facility and focus on other tasks saving time, which results in saving more in opportunity costs.

Selecting the right design build construction company

Selecting the right design build construction company is the most prominent step in getting started with the design-build project. It is like selecting a partner in your company. Afterall, the entire project development depends upon the capability of the design build firm.  

The owner should use a competitive procurement process for hiring the right firm.

Some of the key aspects to consider while doing so are – 

  • Define and clearly outline your project needs, goals, budget, schedule and preferences. 
  • Check out design build firms with expertise that align with your vision, Research their portfolios and client testimonials. 
  • Evaluate each company’s qualifications including licenses, insurance coverage, industry affiliations and certifications. 
  • Review proposed approach including design process, construction methods, project management practices 
  • One of the commonly overlooked factors that owners should keep in mind is requesting references from past clients and projects like yours.  
  • Review contracts and terms meticulously and ensure that all important aspects are clearly documented. 
  • Most importantly, trust your instincts. Choose a design build construction company that instills trust.  

In this ever-evolving landscape of the construction industry, the choice that you make about a design build construction company can shape the trajectory of your project. Each decision that the owner takes during this phase of the construction can make or break the construction project.


The design build construction method is an indicator of a paradigm shift in project delivery, offering efficiency and modes of innovation for both commercial and residential endeavors. From restoration, renovation, and remodeling, design build method’s integrated approach ensures seamless coordination from conception to completion.  

With its single-source handling, focus on best-value solutions and streamlined workflow, design build solutions are raising the bar high for new standards of quality. They promise guaranteed excellence in construction delivery which not only meets but exceeds expectations.

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