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Find Out Which Build Option is Best for You

Are you hiring an architect or a designer to design your project? Are you thinking to bid out the plans once they are approved? Are you thinking to select a contractor based on the lowest bid? If you are having these thoughts, then it is imperative for you to read on and thoroughly understand the options before settling with a decision.

The two most common ways for projects to be delivered today are:

  • Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

  • Design-Build (DB)

Many property owners believe Design-Bid-Build is the only and best method to complete a project and their belief is for the logical reasons such as:

  1. Hiring an architect or designer to do the plans.

  2. Bid out the plans to a select pool of contractors.

  3. Evaluate the bids and then select a contractor to build.

However, you may not realize that projects were not always done in this manner.

In the past, the renowned master builders completed projects from design to completion without engaging the service of a specialized designer or architect. This practice is known as Design-Build (DB) in today’s era. The practice is still being employed by many savvy homeowners who understand the advantages that Design Build offers them.

You will be better equipped to make wise decisions after understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the two project delivery methods, which can be evaluated through careful consideration of the following factors:

  1. Cost efficiency

  2. Time efficiency

  3. Construction efficiency

  4. Coordination efforts

Now, let’s lay out the pros and cons of the Design-Bid-Build method.

Advantages of Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

  • Check and balance system

  • Specialized designer

  • Owner has more control of the project

Disadvantages of Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

  • More cost upfront to hire a specialized designer/architect

  • Owner’s inability to know the total project cost upfront

  • Owners would require more time to coordinate the project between architect/designer and contractor, which lead to time inefficiency

  • Possible contractor misunderstanding and/or misinformation regarding the plans, which may lead to cost overruns

  • Construction phase inefficiencies due to discrepancies from design and actual field conditions, which may lead to time and cost overruns

  • Significant project delays

Note: You may get the lowest bid with this method, however a low bid does not guarantee the lowest cost of the project because there are potential costly issues that may eventually be uncovered during the construction stage.

With that knowledge in mind, let’s move over and take a look at how Design-Build (DB) can be beneficial to you.

Advantages of Design-Build (DB)

  • Smaller project team (no designer/architect involvement), which leads to easier communication by the owner

  • No coordination effort is needed because the designer and the contractor are one entity

  • No time wasted on bidding phase

  • Opportunities to gain advice and input on constructability

  • No upfront design cost for the owner

  • Delivers budget and schedule consistency

  • Better quality control

Of course, just like everything in life, this approach also has slight limitations.

Disadvantages of Design-Build (DB)

  • Less owner control

  • Unless you have complete trust in your contractor, your project is at the hand of one entity


A savvy client will reconsider the project delivery approach knowing that another method exists. Depending on the needs of the owner, a Design-Build (DB) method may be a better project delivery method given that the proper contractor is selected.

Regardless, it is wise to involve a licensed general contractor early in your project so he may collaboratively identify issues and eliminate unnecessary schedule delays, not to mention expensive rework.

With two decades of construction and real estate experience, CHISEL & TOOL is committed to serve your needs from preliminary design, permit to building completion. Contact us today to begin your complimentary consultation. You’ll be glad you did.


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