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What Is It?

Design-Build is a method of project delivery in which one entity - the design-build team - works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services. One entity, one contract, one unified flow of work from initial concept through completion. Design-Build is also known as design/construct and single-source responsibility.

Across the country and around the world, design-build successfully delivers office buildings, schools, stadiums, transportation and water infrastructure projects with superior results. Design-Build is an alternative to design-bid-build. Under the latter approach, design and construction are split - separate entities, separate contracts, separate work. Design-Build, design-bid-build and construction management are the three project delivery systems most commonly employed in North America.

Over the past 15 years, use of design-build has greatly accelerated in the United States, making this delivery method one of the most significant trends in design and construction today.

One Contract, One Integrated Team

Design-Build streamlines project delivery through a single contract between the owner and the design-build team. This simple but fundamental difference saves money and time by transforming the relationship between designers and builders into an alliance which fosters collaboration and teamwork. United from the outset of every project, an integrated team readily incorporates BIM and LEED certification goals.

The Design-Build Advantage

Owner Benefits

  • Faster Delivery — Collaborative project management means work is completed FASTER with fewer problems.
  • Cost Savings — An integrated team is geared toward EFFICIENCY and INNOVATION.
  • Better Quality — Design-Builders meet performance needs, not minimum design requirements, often developing innovations to deliver a better project than initially imagined.
  • Singular Responsibility — One entity is held accountable for cost, schedule and performance.
  • Decreased Administrative Burden — Owners can focus on the project rather than managing disparate contracts.
  • Reduced Risk — The Design-Build team assumes additional risk.
  • Reduced Litigation Claims — By closing warranty gaps owners virtually eliminate litigation claims.


Practitioner Benefits

  • Higher Profit Margin — An integrated team is fully and equally committed to controlling costs.
  • Decreased Administrative Burden — Design-Build streamlines communication between designers and builders.
  • Reduced Litigation — A Victor O. Schinnerer benchmarking and claims study shows that from 1995-2004, only 1.3% of claims against A/E firms were made by design-build contractors.
  • Increased Market Share— More and more owners choose Design-Build.


All information regarding the Design-Build delivery method on this page was obtained from the Design Build Institute of America website www.dbia.org.