Project Delivery Methods

Frequently we get questions about the different delivery methods in construction. The problem is that Owners are asking questions after their project has already broken ground. If a more efficient delivery method could’ve been used, costs/duration of the project could’ve been reduced (Not to mention solving problems before they arise).   The 3 primary methods of project delivery are Design/Bid/Build, Design/Build and Negotiated. With our extensive experience with all three primary methods, we can help Owners choose the best method for their specific situation. The following is a description of each….

  • Design / Bid / Build

    Also known as the “Traditional Method”, this method is characterized by a linear process where one task
    follows the completion of another, with virtually no overlap. First, a designer (Architect) is selected, who completes the project plans and specifications based on the client’s needs. Bids are solicited from general contractors, who then bid the project per the construction documents provided. The lowest bidder is typically awarded the work.


    • Competitive bidding is used to achieve the lowest price for the drawings and specifications
    • Typical project duration is longer than all other delivery methods
    • Selection of the general contractor is typically based on price, rather than experience or qualifications
    • Owner and architect are responsible for completeness and accuracy of construction documents
    • No construction input during design
    • Firm project pricing can only be established after the owner has incurred the majority of the cost for a complete design
    • Owner is financially responsible for conflicts among team members (Architect/Engineers & General Contractor) and cost overruns


  • Design/Build

    The Design/Build (D/B) method of project delivery is characterized by a contractual arrangement where the general contractor is retained by the owner to deliver a complete project, inclusive of design services. A budget estimate is provided by the team early in the project, based on preliminary design criteria. The D/B team then develops drawings that fulfill the criteria and complete the design, without exceeding the project budget. Bids are then solicited, and awards made to subcontractors.


    • Single point of responsibility for design and construction
    • D/B team selection is based on qualifications, experience and individual team members
    • Owner benefits from early construction input during design, budget and planning phases (value-engineering/ constructability review)
    • Fast project completion (design and construction activities can overlap)
    • Contract value can be established early in process
    • Reduced change-orders
    • Collaborative teaming approach
    • Competitive Bids solicited from Subcontractors
    • Ability to choose Subcontractors based on quality, experience OR price


  • Negotiated

    The Negotiated method to construction delivery is characterized by early collaboration between the design agency and the general contractor. The Owner selects a design agency and a contractor at the very beginning of the process. The 3 parties work together through the design and construction phases.


    • Team selection is based on experience, quality and ability instead of strictly price
    • Subcontractors selected based on quality, price AND financial stability of the subcontractor’s company (very important as many subcontractors are having financial difficulties in today’s market)
    • Fast project completion (design and construction activities can overlap)
    • Contract value can be established early in process
    • Reduced change-orders (contractor can provide cost estimates during design)
    • Collaborative teaming approach
    • High Quality End Product for the Best Price




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