Engineering team for planning design, Engineer concept.
Engineering team for planning design, Engineer concept.

The Design-Build Method in Construction

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On a typical construction project, exploring the many layers of management is proven to be very challenging for everyone involved. Complex oversight makes it very hard for the property owner and project manager and other people in charge to collaborate and communicate with one another. The extra layers of management placed at the top will make it much more difficult for suppliers and subcontractors to get paid. 

When you envision a construction environment that maximizes productivity and fosters positive relationships, what seems more fitting? Is it: (1) Protective measures, secretive attitudes, mistrust, proprietary turf wars and grudging communication where needed – if at all? (2) Respect for others, open minds, friendly sharing of processes and ideas, responsibility-taking and ongoing communication being geared toward overall project success?

If you guessed the very first one, we could assume two certain things. First, you’ve been in the construction industry for too long. Second, you may not consider giving new project delivery methods such as design-build enough credit. But in this overview of the design-build process, we’ll show you how this significant can help simplify the many processes in construction.

, for all design aspects and construction phases of a particular project, thus, creating one responsible participating party.
  • This particular method promotes efficiency by removing layers of unnecessary processes and bureaucracy from the process. 
  • Design-Build often involves the subcontractors specifically in the design portion. All the work will be familiar to them and they will be informed right away before they even arrive at the job site.
  • Design-Build Management Structures

     

    The Design-build (DB) process generally fuses both architects and engineers (A/E) and builders into one entity. The actual structure of that entity, including the relation of builders and designers, can take several forms. That is why it is vital to implement construction crew management to supervise every participating crew member better. Below is the relationship between the contractor and A/E.

    • Architects and Engineers as an employee – in the design-build model, the majority of design staff (engineers, architects, interior designers, etc.) are employed directly by a general contractor.
    • Architects and Engineers as a subcontractor – in this particular version, a contractor has the primary contract with the client/owner. The contractor will hire the A/E team as subs.
    • Joint venture – In this type of arrangement, the A/E firm and the contractor establish a joint venture (a one combined company) to carry out the work as partners. One of the project managers’ duties is to monitor everyone involved in the venture.

    But how does the design-build approach differ from traditional models? It is a question commonly asked by many. But in direct opposition to the approach, design-build is a standard method of project delivery wherein there’s only one entity, one unified flow of work and one contract from the initial concept for the entire completion. DB is highly known as a single-source responsibility with all crews involved.

    Single-source contracting is one significant difference between DB and the old traditional ways. However, the culture of collaboration still matters whether it is a conventional model or a Design-build approach. The culture of transparency is a huge help in fixing misunderstandings and preventing mistake-making and blame-shifting, which cause unnecessary expenses down the road. 

    The Many Benefits of Design-Build

     

    Design-build yields several benefits to the project site, on your entire team, your client and the final product.

    1. Increase Project Speed

    Your client regularly pinpoints “delivery schedule” as an essential factor of the project delivery method selection, which then explains why the DB approach is immediately overtaking its traditional cousin. The owners prefer to have the work done on time: the faster, the better. In conventional design-bid-build, a huge amount of time is consumed by the bidding process, including managing and creating multiple contracts for every entity/aspect involved.

    But with Design-Build, there is no bidding process taken into consideration. Additionally, the construction is shorter in the DB approach since all architects, builders and engineers are on one team. Hence, building on one portion of the project may begin while the A/E are currently nailing down the other part’s details.

    2. Reduced Costs

    Apparently, initial costs are always a fundamental factor when it comes to project delivery selection. Good thing that Design-Build has an overall project budget already established at the start of the project. Generally, a tight implementation budget or GMP (guaranteed maximum price) and a fixed design fee are always included in this part. Planning an accurate set of the budget at the start of construction will further eliminate last-minute surprises.

    A study shows that alternative project delivery methods may provide a much greater opportunity of meeting the initial budget compare to Design-bid-build. While the DB approach may look like more money upfront, the cost savings can be significantly greater compared to other delivery methods in the long run.

    3. More Team Collaboration = Less Mistakes and Risks

    Due to Design-build’s nature, everybody is working for one particular project goal. It is a firm tendency for separate teams and trades to work on what’s in their best interest with traditional ways. It might difficult to blame the setup since the independent contract model will make it harder to work the other way. The research is particularly about traditional methods like design-bid-build, leading to miscommunication between teams, disconnection, and many potential errors.

    The DB approach’s collaborative process uses and encourages solid teamwork, stimulates information sharing, develops deeper levels of collaboration and trust, enhances transparent communication between crew members, and improves the whole project quality. Hence, project completion isn’t put at risk. The design-build approach combined with task management software like Pro Crew Schedule will make the entire work easier. 

    With Pro Crew Schedule, a more collaborative space exist and there’s greater accountability in many ways:

    • Project planning sets to be realistic, helping to shape a more accurate timeline.
    • Tracking time hours is one of the top features of this software.
    • This subcontractor scheduling software serves as a centralized channel for all your members and other subs involved. 
    • Files and data are stored securely and can be accessed anytime and anywhere.
    • The application is easy to explore, and so as the built-in features.
    • Workflow becomes smoother and there’s closer connection in all crews involved. 
    • Project management for construction is continuously improving.

    There are several more emerging benefits of this cloud-based application when combined with the design-build model. If there is an opportunity for your company to start deploying this advanced application as you implement the DB model to your current projects, consider getting the basics first. Experience Pro Crew Schedule in a

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