The design and build procurement method is an increasingly popular option for a custom project. This is especially true when the client trusts and is only willing to work with a single contractor. Although there are definite benefits to this approach, there are also several notable drawbacks. It is important for clients to understand the pros and cons of design and build before relying on a single contractor to execute the entire project.
What Is Design and Build Procurement?
In this process, a single contractor is in charge of the design and construction of the structure. Ordinarily, a designer consults on the initial design creation and review. Next, a contractor comes in to complete construction based on the designer and the clients’ wishes.
Benefits of Design and Build Procurement
For projects on a tight deadline, design and build procurement is a great method. Furthermore, this approach is often more affordable than traditional construction. Many clients appreciate the simplicity of having a single point of responsibility. It’s easier to rely on a single contractor than to coordinate between a contractor and a separate design team.
The Design and Build Process
Design and build procurement follows the same process as traditional construction, complete with assessments, architectural design, construction, and post-construction handoff. However, in a design and build project, some of these phases may overlap, as the contractor is heavily involved in and responsible for the architectural design. This provides an element of flexibility that would otherwise not be available.
The pre-construction stage is crucial. This is when the contractor and any designers or consultants determine the client’s vision for the property, along with financial constraints and other concerns. During this time, thorough assessments look at mechanical and electrical systems. Topography, codes, compliance, and several other factors come into play before considering the architectural elements of the design process.
Architectural Design and Design Reviews
Although it is technically the contractor’s job to design the structure in a design and build procurement situation, it is common for contractors to rely upon a team of in-house designers to complete this step, or even to work with a preferred consultant. If the client prefers to have a greater say in the design of the structure, he or she may work with the contractor or consultants to develop a concept design.
Once the concept design is in place, the next step is to develop a detailed design. Outline specifications describe the materials used in the project and workmanship. Requirements for equipment and installation also matter.
Next up is technical design, which addresses more specific aspects of the structure. By the time the technical design is complete, it should be clear how the structure’s components will fit together.
Throughout the entirety of the design process (including the detailed and technical phases), the contractor or lead designer must coordinate regular design reviews. During these review times, the team will discuss quality, risks, project brief compliance, and other factors. Consultants and design specialists are a large part of this process.
Construction and Post-Construction Handoff
The contractor can begin construction after the design is complete and has approval. A major benefit of design-build is the streamlined transition from architectural design to construction. There may even be some overlap between design and construction, as job site preparation can begin while the design team is conducting necessary reviews. As in traditional construction, the contractor responsible for the design-build structure must coordinate material vendors and subcontractors.
Following construction, a post-construction handoff occurs. This step ensures the building owner or facility manager is ready to take over maintenance of the structure. When the entire design and build procurement process is complete, the client should be fully confident in his or her ability to successfully manage the facility.
The design and build procurement method is an excellent option that can streamline the building process while giving you greater say over the end product. The better you understand the process and the differences between design-build and traditional construction, the better you can assess which approach is best for your construction project.
Whether you prefer the design and build procurement method or wish to work with a separate designer, you can count on our team of experts at Peak Steel Contractors for assistance with your large-scale steel project. Let us put our years of experience to work for you. It is our goal to ensure your steel project goes as planned from Day One through project completion. Contact us today to learn more.