Design-build is a method of project delivery in which one entity – the design-build team – works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services. One entity, one contract, one unified flow of work from initial concept through completion. Design-build is also known as design/construct and single-source responsibility. Across the country and around the world, design-build successfully delivers office buildings, schools, stadiums, transportation and water infrastructure projects with superior results.
Design-build is an alternative to design-bid-build. Under the latter approach, design and construction are split – separate entities, separate contracts, separate work.
The Owner manages only one contract with a single point of responsibility. The designer and contractor work together from the beginning, as a team, providing unified project recommendations to fit the Owner's schedule and budget. Any changes are addressed by the entire team, leading to collaborative problem-solving and innovation, not excuses or blame-shifting. While single-source contracting is the fundamental difference between design-build and the old ways, equally important is the culture of collaboration inherent in design-build.
The Owner must manage two separate contracts which all-too-often creates an adversarial relationship between the designer and the contractor. If something goes wrong or an unforeseen circumstance requires changes, the designer and contractor blame one another for the cost overruns or schedule changes, often leading to litigation and delays which add to the project cost.
Design-build streamlines project delivery through a single contract between the owner and the design-build team. This simple but fundamental difference saves money and time by transforming the relationship between designers and builders into an alliance which fosters collaboration and teamwork. United from the outset of every project, an integrated team readily incorporates BIM and LEED certification goals.