Which Project Delivery Method is Right for My Project?

June 29, 2016

Choosing the right project delivery method is one of the most important decisions made by every owner starting a construction project.

The most appropriate project delivery method reduces risk and improves the likelihood of attaining project cost, quality, and schedule goals. It also provides for additional control over certain elements of the project.


In making any decision, you must have a clear understanding of the options available.  By comparing each project delivery methods’ advantages and disadvantages, you can maximize objectives and minimize risk.


Depending on the project delivery method you select, the contractual relationship, as well as the level of collaboration will vary between the owner, the designer, and the builder.


Design-Bid-Build Project Delivery


In a Design-Bid-Build project delivery method, the process is linear, meaning one step is completed before another step begins. During the first step of design services, the owner works with a team to obtain a thorough evaluation, design, and specification. During the second step the owner proceeds with bidding and negotiations, and then selects the contractor. The selected contractor enters into the third step, which is the build, only after all bidding and negotiations conclude.


There are two separate contracts in this project delivery method: owner to designer and owner to contractor. The designer focuses on the design elements, while the contractor executes the work as specified. The owner monitors both parties to ensure the overall project performance meets organizational standards and the project’s specifications.



• This method is well understood and suitable for many projects

• There are clearly defined roles for all parties



• There is no collaboration between the design and construction teams

• Multiple points of responsibility for the contract - under construction law, the owner warrants the adequacy of design, meaning the contractor is responsible only for building to the design and does not guarantee that any particular outcome will be achieved.

• The process has a longer lead time since design work must be completed before the contractor can be selected




In a Design-Build project delivery method, the design services combine with construction services under one single source.  This alignment means there is only one contract issued by the owner. The design-build entity takes responsibility for the design, specifications, and construction of the project.  This method ensures the performance standards set forth in the contract are met.



• Better collaboration between the single source design-build team contributes to less change orders, streamlined schedules, and open communication

• Dispute resolution is simplified - owner is protected through multiple levels of insurance coverage by both professional liability and construction insurance

• Project costs may be lower due to the shorter schedule

• Because construction can occur concurrently with the design step, the delivery of the project can be sped up by 33% or more as compared to traditional design-bid-build delivery



• Owner gives up some control of the design process

• It may be more difficult to secure performance and payment bonds on this type of project

• Quality may erode due to improper design and/or construction without proper checks and balances provided through two separate entities


Construction Management


With the Construction Management project delivery method the owner has one direct contract with a construction manager. The contractor becomes a subcontractor to the construction management entity.



• Concurrent design and construction

• The owner is not bothered with having to make every decision and may realize a time reduction in the completion of the job

• Increased quality control responsibility with the construction manager

• Cost reduction through economies of scale



• Construction Manager holds all subcontracts

• Potential for disputes or lack of communication can cause issues with quality or job site safety


To keep your investment safe, it is vital that you consider all of your project’s needs and priorities when determining the best project delivery method. If you aren’t sure which choice is most appropriate for your specific project, contact us today. Our team can offer valuable insights during every step of your decision-making process, beginning with pre-design and continuing through project completion.


StructureTec is a building  envelope, pavement, and roof consultant specializing in the waterproofing and restoration of existing building envelopes, roofs, pavement and concrete structures.


Phone: 800-745-7832


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