The Complete Guide to Design Build Construction

When building a new home or property, it’s important to understand what type of construction is best for your project. Design-build construction is one option that can help you ensure the finished product is exactly how you want it. 

However, there are some things you should consider before deciding on this approach and some things to avoid as well. In this guide, we’ll explain what design-build construction entails and help you determine if it’s right for your next project.

What is design-build construction?

Design-build construction is a method of construction that combines the design and construction of a building into a single contract. In many cases, this will involve hiring an architect who has experience in construction and can handle both tasks under one contract. In other instances, it may be possible to give the contractor who will build your new home or office space full control over the entire process from start to finish.

Design-build is a project delivery method where the designer and builder work together on a single contract from start to finish in order to promote collaboration.

Design-build construction allows you as the client more flexibility in choosing a contractor because they already have all the components they need to complete your project at hand. This means you can avoid going through multiple bids and dealing with multiple contractors who may not understand what you want to be done with your space, which can save time and money overall.

Is design-build construction right for you?

There are many factors to consider when deciding if design-build construction is right for you. The most important factor is whether or not you feel comfortable working with a team of designers and builders who will be responsible for creating your vision.

Other factors to consider include your budget, timeline, and the level of involvement you want to have in the construction process. If you are looking for a turn-key solution that will allow you to be as involved or uninvolved as you want, design-build construction may be right for you.

How does design-build construction work?

Design-build is a project delivery method that combines the planning and design of the project with the construction of the project. It’s used in all phases of building, including commercial, residential, industrial, and infrastructure. The main goal of design-build is to reduce time and cost while improving quality. For instance, a designer may insist on certain material and hardware choices, like using invisible hinges for doors. However, a contractor may offer cost-saving ideas based on available material or services.

Design-build allows you to work with a single contractor during all phases of your project—from concept through completion. This eliminates delays caused by multiple subcontractors coming on board at different stages in your construction process.

Additionally, because one contractor is responsible for managing everything from start to finish, fewer materials are moving through your site at any given time (and less damage is done by trucks driving back and forth).

What are the benefits of a design-build approach?

Design-Build Construction Is More Efficient Than Traditional Methods.

The benefits of design-build construction are numerous. Here are some of the most important ones:

1. Faster Time To Completion

A common misconception about design-build is that it takes longer to build because there is no bidding process. In reality, design-build saves you time because the contractor is involved in the design process, making sure everything works together smoothly. This eliminates the need for multiple rounds of bids, saving you both time and money.

2. Reduced Disputes

One advantage of a design-build contract is that it eliminates potential conflicts during construction. When both parties agree on the scope of the project, there is less room for misunderstanding and miscommunication. In addition, the builder knows exactly how much money he or she needs to spend. This allows him or her to make better decisions about materials and equipment purchases.

3. More Collaborative Process

Another advantage of a design-build contract is that it allows both parties to work together more closely. The builder will often be on-site during the design phase, collaborating with the architect and other team members. This allows him or her to provide feedback at every stage of the project, ensuring that your vision comes to life exactly as you want it.

4. Calculated Project Costs

One of the biggest advantages of a design-build contract is that it helps to ensure that your project costs are more predictable. When you hire an architect, they will often provide you with a cost estimate based on the plans they have created. However, this is just an estimate and may not be accurate in all cases.

The disadvantages of design-build construction.

While design-build offers several advantages and can help you achieve your project goals, it also has its disadvantages. Here are some of the potential pitfalls:

  • One is that the owner may not have as much control over the project, since the contractor is typically responsible for both the design and construction. This can lead to problems if the contractor does not deliver on their promises, or if the quality of their work is not up to par.
  • Additionally, design-build construction can be more expensive than traditional construction methods, since the owner is essentially paying for two services (design and construction) instead of just one.
  • Finally, design-build construction can be riskier for the owner, since they are putting all their eggs in one basket (so to speak). If something goes wrong, they may have trouble getting recourse from either the designer or the contractor.

What are the differences between design-build and traditional models?

There are several key differences between the design-build method and traditional methods of construction.

  • Design-build typically involves a single point of contact between the client and the contractor, whereas traditional methods involve multiple points of contact. This can make communication and coordination much simpler in design-build projects.
  • Additionally, design-build projects are often completed more quickly than traditional projects, since all parties are working together from the start.
  • Finally, design-build contracts typically include incentives for the contractor to complete the project on time and within budget, which provides additional motivation to get the job done right.

How to Choose a Design-Build Contractor for Your Next Project?

There are a few things to consider when choosing a design-build contractor for your next project.

  • First, you’ll want to make sure that the contractor has experience with the type of project you’re undertaking. 
  • Second, you’ll want to get referrals from other businesses or individuals who have used the contractor’s services. 
  • Finally, you’ll want to get a sense of the contractor’s communication and organizational skills by meeting with them in person and asking them questions about the project. 

By taking these factors into consideration, you can be sure to choose a design-build contractor who will best meet your needs.

When to Use Design-Build Construction

You should consider using design-build construction if you are in the early stages of your project and there is still a lot of uncertainty about what it should look like. This type of construction will allow you to get the building up and running as soon as possible, even before all the details have been worked out.

Design-build construction is also useful if you have a tight budget and need to save money by bringing the design and building processes together. Design-build contractors can offer their services at lower prices than traditional contractors because they don’t have to pay for overhead costs associated with running a business, such as marketing and administration.

The other advantage of this system is that it allows you to reuse assets from one project on another. This can be particularly helpful if you are working on a tight budget, as it allows you to avoid wasting any money on materials that will only be used once. You should also consider this type of construction if your project has a short timeline.

This is especially true if you’re working on something that needs to be completed quickly-for example, if you are building a house for someone who is homeless or in need of transitional housing.

When Not to Use Design-Build Construction

Design-build can be an excellent choice for a construction project, but there are times when it’s not the right solution. For example:

  • Design-build is designed to solve problems in the most efficient way possible. While this is great, if your problem does not involve a need for efficiency, then design-build won’t work well in your case.
  • If you need a solution that is not unique, design-build may not be right for you. Design-build requires specialized knowledge and experience when it comes to building with new technologies and materials (e.g., fiberglass reinforced concrete). This means that if you’re looking at using standard materials or processes in your next construction project, then it would likely make more sense to go with traditional bidding methods.
  • Lastly-and this goes without saying-if your problem doesn’t require customization before beginning work on any given day (like pouring footings), then it might make sense just to hire someone who specializes specifically within those areas instead.

There are a few instances when design-build construction is not the best option. If the project is very small, or if there is not enough time to complete the design and construction phases, then it is better to use traditional methods. Additionally, if the owner wants to maintain complete control over the project, then design-build is not the best option.

Takeaway: If you’re looking for a unique solution to your next building project, design-build may be the way to go.


We hope this guide has helped you understand how design-build construction works and what it might mean for your next project. This approach can be a great solution for many projects, but it’s not the right choice for everyone. If you think that design-build might be right for you and want to learn more about it before deciding, contact us today!