The benefits of the design-build project delivery method
Design-build project delivery is one of the most popular and fastest growing methods used to deliver construction projects across North America, accounting for over 40 per cent of all non-residential construction. But why is that, and what is the design-build delivery method?

Unlike the traditional design-bid build method, the design-build delivery method involves the designer and contractor working together from the beginning, as a team, providing unified project recommendations to fit the owner's schedule and budget. Any changes are addressed by the entire team, leading to collaborative problem-solving and innovated approach. While single-source contracting is the fundamental difference between design-build and a more traditional method of construction, equally important is the culture of collaboration inherent in design-build.

This is one of many undeniable advantages of a design-build delivery method, compared to a construction manager where there is often no contractual relationship between the team of designers and the builder. These are some of the additional benefits one can expect from a design-build project delivery method.

Communication, accountability, continuity

The design-build team and the owner are in this together, and they have the same goal – to complete a successful project that meets or exceeds the owner's expectations. This team of designers and design-assist consultants is established right at the very beginning of the design process and is accountable for the entire project, including the quality of the design, how the result looks, the total costs, and how quickly construction can be completed.

This translates to much more attention given to details including designing to the target budget, frequent estimate updates, and design constructability reviews. The costs of all aspects of the project, as well as all design fees, anticipated construction costs, and market condition forecasts are considered early on in the process. The involvement of the design-build team in the project from initial concept to completion adds an inherent efficiency and effectiveness to the process because clear and effective communication channels are established before early concepts are created, allowing for a streamlined process throughout the duration of design and construction.

Professional expertise ensures time and cost savings

There is a tremendous advantage to working with teams that are experienced in design-build and are able to think both like a designer and a builder. A qualified design-build team brings a wealth of design and construction experience to the table at key checkpoints during the each phase to provide a best-practices approach to the entire project.

The understanding and consideration from a design and construction perspective of how early design decisions impact the budget and/or construction schedule is another advantage. An experienced design-build team is an expert in both general construction and building systems and has strong partnerships with reliable and pre-qualified subcontractors. Finally, data collected from the DBIA corroborates these factors and their inherent time and cost saving effects and advantages associated with the design-build project delivery method.


Research concludes that integrating engineers, architects and construction professionals through the design-build project delivery method fosters greater collaboration and trust in the working environment, with all parties sharing common objectives and working as a team to identify the most innovative, time saving, and best-value solutions for the owner. The insight and coordination of the design-build team into all systems to avoid timely and expensive delays to construction speaks to the inherent benefits.