Analysis of Design-Build vs Design-Bid-Build Delivery Methods

The decision of how to bring a developer’s or client’s vision to life is as old as the building industry itself. This decision, like so many others in life, is based on how we can get what we want as quickly and cheaply as possible. Let’s deep dive into design build vs design bid build.


To further complicate matters, our industry has coined words like design-build and design-bid-build to describe a range of techniques. Both techniques or delivery methods have advantages and disadvantages, which are mostly dependent on the project’s complexity, size, and risk tolerances.


Design Build vs Design Bid Build

design build vs design bid build


Design-Build is the style of delivery implies that your building project will be overseen by a single entity: a Design-Builder. It also means that your builder has the ability to supply you with a turn-key procedure, which often begins with property brokerage and ends with project building, but also includes everything in between.


This can include all aspects of a project’s design & engineering and municipal submittals, and, in some situations, project funding. This mode of delivery is a one-stop-shop in the true meaning of the term, with the client delegating all duties to the Design-Builder.



As required by state statutes, this delivery technique is generally employed by governmental and municipal bodies. Some private entities who are exclusively searching for low-cost bids use it as well. 


A design-bid-build implies that a client has employed independent consultants, designers, and engineers to provide a set of documentation that most accurately reflects the developer’s goal. The documents are then publicly solicited and bid on to establish the lowest price for the documented scope of work.


Pros & Cons of Design-Build Delivery Method 




1. Shorter Timeline 

This delivery technique has shown to be the most efficient in terms of a development’s total timeframe, allowing for early occupancy and, as a result, allowing a developer to earn money considerably sooner.


2. Reduced Risk 

The Design-Build delivery process also relieves a developer of a lot of responsibility, uncertainty, and risk, allowing them to focus on their business and operations. 


A skilled Design-Builder will convey only the proper amount of information to their audience without overwhelming them. A good Design-Builder is also trusted to make judgments on behalf of the client that will boost the project’s overall value.


3. Budget-Friendly 

Previously, the design-build technique of building could be easily tailored to the owner’s budget and requirements. The design-build business chosen, or the project manager in charge of the entire project, assembles the team members according to the owner’s project budget.


If done correctly, this delivery permits some (design and administrative) phases to be skipped for the sake of time, money, and schedule.




1. Higher Price 

The owner cannot choose the design build firm based on their own price because there is no bidding process. As a result, the pricing in this area tends to be greater. Furthermore, no Design-build business begins work until they are under contract, making it difficult for the owner to compare.


2. Creativity 

The design-build firms have a variety of 3D models that they change and employ based on the requests of the building owner. When using the Design-build method of construction, the owner does not have the option of a personalised design.


3. Less Owner Involvement 

The owner has very little or no input in the selection of team members for project completion. Previously, every design-build firm promised owner input; but, once the construction process gets underway, the owner is only consulted as needed, and significant decisions are taken by the commercial design-build firm or the project manager.


Pros & Cons of Design-Bid-Build Delivery Method




1. More Control

Since the designer and contractor are employed independently, the project’s cost must be controlled by the owner. The designer for home building design is chosen according to the owner’s budget. In the Design Bid Build method of construction, the owner has complete control over the project from start to end.


2. Better Project Clarity 

The project must be finished within a particular time frame when using the Design Bid Build method of construction. As a result, the phases do not overlap, making it easy to determine where the project is headed at any one time, which gives you clarity. 


3. More Control

Both design bid build and design-build rely solely on the owner’s input, but the distinction is that design bid build provides you greater flexibility and thus allows you to make modifications to the design-build model as needed at any time during the project.




1. Costly Complications

Because the designer and contractor are not working in tandem during the design bid build process, there are more issues during the project execution phase. At every phase, whether it is the design aspect or documentation, some or other complications develop, resulting in an increase in the project’s cost.


2. Time-consuming

Since both designer and the builder must be appointed at different times, the process takes time by default. If a complication emerges in the middle of the project, the schedule will be extended even more, and both parties will point fingers at each other. As a result, the project may be halted or require additional time to complete.


3. Communication Issues

Because the builder isn’t involved in the design process, there’s a good chance that the designer and the builder will misunderstand each other. 


Due to the contractor’s lack of involvement at an earlier stage, numerous concerns will be discovered later and will need to be identified and addressed sooner rather than later. As a result, there is a lack of communication, which has an overall negative impact on the project’s quality.


When comparing design-build vs. design-bid-build delivery systems, the fundamental distinction is that design-build includes both design and construction under one contract, whereas design-bid-build includes separate contracts to the developer. However, when comparing the two, there are a few last aspects to consider.


To eliminate the stigmas mentioned in the cons section above, a design-build delivery demands a high level of trust and knowledge from all sides. The design-build process is the clear way to complete any project if the relationship functions at this level. The designer will have a streamlined decision-making, faster progress, and a better overall development experience.


A design-bid-build delivery could be useful if a client is confident and ready to accept the risk that a contractual designer’s documentation is comprehensive, coordinated, and the scope represents the available money. 


However, because the contractor’s offer reflects just that narrow scope, creating a finite scope of work can be a drawback. During the bidding process, any unforeseen costs or design flaws can expose the developer. Additional design work to resolve these vulnerabilities can and will detract from a project’s success.


This is why it is important to assess each design strategy, your project, and team before choosing one.

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