According to Wikipedia, design/build (commonly abbreviated D/B) is a project delivery system used in the construction industry. It is a method to deliver a project in which the design and construction services are contracted by a single entity known as the design/builder or design/build contractor.

What does this actually mean for an owner?

Design/build results in a single point of contact for contractual responsibility for both the design and construction of a project. The design/build contractor will hold contracts with the various design and construction sub-consultants. The design/build contractor works from a set of criteria developed by the owner (or the owner’s criteria developer) and will ultimately be responsible for cost, schedule, accuracy, owner satisfaction and more.

What are the pros and cons of each?

Guaranteed maximum price
•  Single point of responsibility – accountability
•  Ability to involve the construction team through the design process and keep the designers engaged through construction
•  Increased ability to control the quality of prime contractors

Perception of the “fox watching the hen house”
•  The model is difficult to adapt to complex projects while maintaining the owner’s desired aesthetics.
•  Criteria to select the contractor can feel subjective and difficult to evaluate since a low-bid price is not the determining factor.

Check back for future blogs on roles of the design/build team and design/build lessons learned.