Design-build vs. bid-build has been a topic of great discussion in the construction industry for a long time. If it seems like that topic has made its way into general discourse as well, that is likely because more property owners are starting to see the merits of hiring design-build companies.

So, which approach will work best for your building project? That is the question we will help you answer in the article. Use the information included in this article to decide if you want to hire a design-build firm or bid-build specialists.

Understanding Design-Build

The design-and-build approach is all about simplifying the construction process. If you hire custom home builders that utilize the design-and-build approach to work on your project, you will not need to bring in more people down the line. Instead, a single company will handle all of the work related to your project.

Design-and-build companies already employ all professionals handling typical building projects. At the start of the process, you will work closely with the company’s in-house architect to create the plans for your property. When construction begins, you will coordinate with the builders more closely. Notably, the architect and the builders can also work together throughout the process. They can discuss plans with each other and with you, so everyone is always on the same page.

Collaboration is crucial to the success of any design-and-build project, and you will see that right from day one.

What Is Design-Bid-Build?

Design-bid-build may not be a term you recognize right away, but chances are you are familiar with it. The design-bid-build approach to construction is better known as the conventional approach. You will need to work with different parties if you opt to move forward with a design-bid-build project. Those parties include an architect, a contractor, and the builders themselves. There is also a chance that you will bring in subcontractors to take on specific tasks that the builders do not know well enough.

Many property owners are still fans of the design-bid-build approach to construction. Still, that does not necessarily mean that it will also be the best approach for your project.

Design-Bid-Build (DBB) vs. Design-Build (DB)

Deciding which approach to use for your construction project can be difficult. To figure out which side you fall on concerning the design-build vs. bid-build debate, it helps to take note of the processes involved in both. Let’s discuss those processes in greater detail below.

The Design-Bid-Build Process

Design-bid-build projects typically start with the property owner hiring an architect. The architect will develop the plans for your project and present them to you for approval. Ensure you are completely satisfied with the plans before approving them because you may have difficulty getting a hold of your architect later. Once they have fulfilled their end of the deal, they are free to work on other projects, and you cannot expect them to make time to address your lingering concerns.

After you have secured the plans from your architect, you can solicit bids from contractors interested in working on them. Hire only the building or remodeling contractors that fully understand the nature of the project because the architect will not be available to provide guidance.
You may also have to go out and look for subcontractors later. Subcontractors you may need to hire to finish the project include plumbers, electricians, and tile setters.

The Design-Build Process

Compared to design-bid-build, the design-and-build process is significantly simpler. This time around, you will only need to make one hiring decision. Interview design-and-build contractors in your area until you find the company you want to work with.

The construction process for the project is also easier to manage because everyone stays involved until they finish it. Then, they can contact the relevant parties to sort things out if issues arise.

What Are Some of the Advantages of the Design-Build Process?

The design-and-build process may not be as well-known among the public as the design-bid-build approach, but the former arguably still provides better benefits. What are the key advantages presented by the design-and-build process? You can learn more about them by continuing below.

Design-Build Projects Are More Affordable – Construction projects are almost always expensive, but you can still manage your costs by doing things a certain way. For instance, hiring a design-and-build contractor can lower the final cost of your project. Citing a study conducted by Pennsylvania State University and the Construction Industry Institute, this paper from West Virginia University notes that design-and-build projects are more affordable by 6% compared to their more conventional counterparts.

Simply put, a 6% cost reduction is a big deal. It could even make the difference between you affording your project or not.

Design-Build Projects Are Delivered Faster – Aside from being more affordable, design-and-build projects also have a shorter turnaround time. On average, design and build projects are completed 33% faster than traditional design-bid-build projects. Delayed construction projects are bad enough because of how inconvenient they can be. Unfortunately, things can still worsen as those delayed projects cost you money.

You can avoid those potential issues by working with design-and-build contractors.

Design-Build Projects Allow for Greater Flexibility – As you see the project come to life, you may develop the desire to change a few things. Implementing those changes will be tricky if your architect is already occupied with another project. That is not the case if you are working with a design-and-build firm.

Following through with a change order is easier with design-and-build contractors because everyone needed to implement it is still involved with the project. Therefore, you do not need to hire more people to make a few changes.

Design-Build Projects Are Less Demanding of Property Owners – With a design-bid-build project, the property owner has to be involved throughout the process to ensure that they execute all the plans properly. In addition, the property owner is the only one that contacts the architect, so they must convey important details of the building plan to the workers.

You do not need to worry about that as much if you have opted for a design-and-build project. Because the workers and the architect are constantly in touch, they can coordinate with each other instead.

Design-Build Projects Reduce Risk for Property Owners – Lastly, you should consider partnering with design-and-build contractors because they reduce the level of risk you have to take on. If you discover that your architect’s plan is unfeasible for your budget or time after they have moved on to a different project, you could find yourself in a tough spot. Conversely, you will not know if your builders are asking for more than fair compensation because you do not have an architect to consult with.

Avoiding those situations is easier if you are working with a design-build company.

How to Choose Which Process Is a Better Fit for Your Project

When deciding between design-build vs. bid-build, you want to pay close attention to how complex the project is. Simple projects that are unlikely to require modifications down the line can be handled separately by architects and builders. Even if those two parties do not have the opportunity to work closely together, chances are the project will still turn out fine.

Once it starts to look like the project will be quite complicated, that is when you should seek out the design-and-build contractors. You should also go with design-and-build workers if you want to keep the cost and timeline for your project under control.

San Diego Design Build Firm

At our San Diego design build firm, we utilize the design-and-build approach to home construction and custom home building that prominently features green building philosophies. We believe that combining those two concepts benefits our customers greatly, and we are working continuously to improve our process. Do you want to see our design-and-build approach in action? If so, reach out to us today and let us work on your next project!

Some of the areas in and around San Diego we serve include: Del Mar, Carlsbad, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, Encinitas, Rancho Peñasquitos, Torrey Pines, University Heights, Scripps Ranch, Point Loma, and more.

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