Revolution in the construction industry doesn’t only account for the technology injected in the field. When we talk of trends, the first thing we look into is the updates on equipment, construction project management software, gadgets, digital technology, and other technological creations. But processes in construction are also updated once in a while. And the latest we’ve seen is in the method of construction.
Two Construction Methods
The traditional method of construction was deemed rather inefficient and costly. That said, experts in the field were able to take the middleman out of the picture and make the workflow shorter between the client and the contractor who’s also the builder. This method is called Design-Build.
In the past, contractors had to hire key players in the project separately. He should find an architect, a designer, a sub-consultant, and a contractor for starters. These people aren’t on the same team. The reason is so that expertise can be taken advantage of in the field.
However, the design-build method proved that hiring one team to work on the designing, planning, and building can be more productive and cost-effective than the old-fashioned method.
Before we find out how design-build dominates traditional construction, let’s first look into the difference between these two methods.
Traditional Construction vs Design-Build
The traditional construction method is referred to as the Design-Bid-Build and it remains popular in the U.S. and other parts of the world with booming real estate. The owner hires a designer and opens bidding from contractors. When the owner chooses the best bid, that bidder will handle the construction works. But then, not all contractors can provide all expertise in the field, so they still seek subcontractors’ services. Sometimes, the owner also hires a sub-consultant who’s an expert in designing and building to check on the designer’s design.
Now, the difficulty can come from the builder not being the designer. Logically, contractors are able to create better buildings if it is their design that they are building. This is because the designer knows the plan best.
Meanwhile, Design-Build refers to a method where one team bears the sole responsibility for both the design and construction. The team will either hire professionals to handle specialized tasks or hires a subcontractor. But overall, there’s only one contract for all services, so if a subcontractor makes a mistake, it is the general contractor who will be held responsible.
Design-build requires a high degree of collaboration between the designer and the builder. Hence, they work together as the project progresses, seeing various benefits like more coordinated tasks leading to higher quality results.
In the present, the design-build construction method accounts for 40% of all non-residential construction. This clearly states that project owners are now aware of the benefits that this shorter route brings.
If you’re new to construction or haven’t considered this method yet, then here are undeniably good benefits that this Design-Build brings to construction and renovation projects.
1. More Effective Teamwork
Teamwork is achieved, obviously, within a team. If the designer and the contractor are on different boats, how could they ever go on about doing the project? Could they even start properly?
In the Design-Build method, the contractor handles both the design and building process and the owner is also encouraged to get involved. When an issue is encountered, all these key players sit together to develop a plan on how to resolve the problem and keep the project on track and schedule. This is much easier done with a standard collaboration tool installed in their offices like the Pro Crew Schedule.
2. Total accountability
As we’ve said, when the designer is also the one who builds the project, much more attention is given to the plan, pricing, and schedule, making the result better than when the designer and the contractor are from different groups.
Another benefit of making one team accountable for the whole project is that all aspects can be taken into account early on in the process, including labor fees, construction costs, utilities, landscaping allowances, and all other costs related to completing the project. This helps the contractor submit a more accurate quotation to the owner not to suffer from shortages later on.
This is seldom achievable in the design-bid-build method, where the project’s cost is twice as much as the designer’s estimate.
3. Continuity in Workflow
The same people are involved in the project from start to finish, which adds efficiency and effectiveness to the process. Tasks and schedules are planned more effectively since the contractor already knows the skill level of his members. The harmony between workers who already know each other also adds to productivity in the workplace.
4. Expertise in Both Design and Build Processes
Design-build firms employ both designers and project managers to work together. This then lets the firm achieve the best of both worlds. In addition, design-build firms usually have a solid partnership with reliable subcontractors. They also see to it that these subcontractors are also real experts in their fields since they are paid part of the budget that the general contractor receives to make sure that they do a good job.
5. More Valuable Professional Advice
Design and construction can get out of hand and messy when these two professionals don’t agree on the project’s terms. But this isn’t the case with a design-build firm. The designer and builder act together to develop the best design and plan that they can submit to the owner and guide him to the best possible outcome. Design-build refines a process from beginning to end and manages the chaos into orderly steps.
6. Owner Involvement
In research, it is assumed that owners want to take part in the construction process when they award the project to a Design-Build firm. The fact that there’s only one accountable person for the project makes it easier for the owner to maintain communication and the level of expertise the firm promises motivates him to get involved. And by being involved in the process, owners can guarantee that their goals will be accomplished, hence achieving customer satisfaction.
7. Closer Collaboration
A solid team means closer collaboration. In the construction industry, where tons of data are being processed every day. The involved parties need to be in a clear understanding of the project timeline and what else should be done in the field. Although construction project management software can be used for communication between different teams, collaboration is still better when people are on the same team and obliged to maintain a harmonious work relationship.
8. Honest and More Frequent Communication
Design-build requires transparency within the team to achieve their common goal, which is to successfully finish the project. Transparency is also seen as project owners understand the process much better as their involvement is requested. Consequently, better partnerships are built between the people engaged in the project.
Finally, we mentioned people being on the same page in a Design-Build, which results from more transparent communication. People in the same team feel more comfortable, hence breaking down walls and letting honest communication happen.
9. More Time Savings
One of the most significant benefits of hiring a Design-Build firm is the quicker turnaround of the project. With both the designer and the builder in the same team, they are able to manage hundreds of timelines that need to coordinate in lockstep. This kind of method also creates opportunities for construction leaders to contemplate significant decisions when a big incident happens. In addition, they can also come up with a decision faster when all key players have a common goal and a clear communication channel.
Furthermore, owners, designers, and builders can revisit major decisions during construction without change orders or additional fees. The traditional construction process often costs an additional fee when making changes.
10. Cost savings
With additional fees for professionals avoided and turnaround made quicker, a savings of approximately 6% of the project costs can be achieved. And for the owner, paying twice as much as the designer’s estimate can be avoided.
The traditional construction method is still used until today and many are still making a profit using that method. But there are several reasons why the design-build delivery method works much better for various projects like new construction as well as renovation.