by Modern General Contractor

2 min read

close up photo black Android smartphone
close up photo black Android smartphone

Design Build and Design Bid Build are two very different construction delivery methods used in today’s society. This article highlights key components that compare and contrast each method.


Joint Venture between General Contractor and Designer Design Builders have both parties within the same entity, making it much easier for the owner throughout the project development.

ONE POINT OF CONTACT The owner will only have to contact the design builder for any project questions or concerns.

Fastest Delivery Method Simply eliminating the bidding process saves a significant amount of time. Site preparation can begin prior to the finalization of all building details.

Least Risky to the Owner Only one entity is held accountable if problems occur, thus eliminating owner liability for design and construction issues.

Most Cost Effective Design builders have access to the most recent construction costs, so designs are created with the most cost-effective materials and methods.

Integrated Services Combining both design and construction services eliminates conflicts that arise in most areas of project development. All parties are on the same page, allowing fast track schedules and on-time delivery.

Construction can begin while the design process is still being developed With this method, construction and design services overlap to enable faster delivery while allowing the owner to make any last-minute changes before the design is finalized.

One Contract Instead of having a contract with the architect and one with the general contractor, the owner will only have one contract with the design.


Separate Entities for Each the Design and Construction Part of the Project The owner has to seek out each company separately. The architect and general contractor have no connection until the plans are placed up for bids.

Goes Through a Design, Bidding, and Construction Phase Because design and construction are not integrated in this method, it takes a lot more time for the project to be completed from start to finish. Each phase is implemented separately and cannot start until the previous has been completed; unlike design build where the phases overlap each other to ensure a quick delivery.

Design Team Does not Have Access to Construction Costs Likely cost increases occur during the design phase because designers do not have access to construction costs. This could cause project delays if the construction documents must be recreated to reduce costs.

Construction Cannot Start Until Designs are Finalized Until plans are finalized, construction will not be allowed to begin. This adds more time to the overall development of the project.

Increased Risk to the Owner With Design-Bid-Build, the owner usually has liability for design and construction in your contract with the general contractor.

Multiple Points of Contact The owner serves as a mediator for any design and construction issues that occur for each party.

Multiple Contracts Contracts between the designer and general contractor are separate, of which the owner now has liability for anything that goes wrong.