Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Design-Build or Design-Bid?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920

    Design-Build or Design-Bid?

    I am working on a project to put up a 20,000 square foot office building. We will be selecting the design team tonight. As it happens, we have an option of two approaches.

    The standard approach is to hire an architect to design the building and prepare bid specifications. The project is then bid to a general contractor to construct. The other method that we can use is the construction manager approach. We select a firm or team to provide both design and project management services. Once the specifications are prepared, the construction manager acts as a sort of general contractor, and each of the subcontracts are bid rather than the entire project.

    Design-Bid is more familiar, and assumes that the best price is obtained by a general contractor putting pressure on subs to assemble a competitive bid. The construction manager approach (design-build) adds a construction manager fee, but assumes that there is no mark-up on subcontractor bids and no general contractor profit, resulting in a lower cost. It also has the appeal of having a full-time advocate and project superintendent on-site during the construction process.

    What does the Throbbing Brain think? Anyone have any experience with these approaches?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
    Registered
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Posts
    1,263
    Though I do planning, our firm is actually an engineering firm. We have done both. The design bid is definitely the most popular, and how we get most work. Only one jurisdiction here that we work with goes the design build route more often. They seem to really like it and have been doing it for awhile. As for how cost effective it is for them I have no idea. We are fullt capable of doing both, but our resposibility and involvement is lower with design bid. When we are very busy, it is preferred for us because we might have to bring in a CM on contract for a large design build project.

  3. #3
         
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    340
    I'm currently an interior design student, and though I have minimal practice in the field, it seems to me that the latter approach would foster better communication on the project and be more efficient, causing less headaches for everyone involved.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Howard Roark's avatar
    Registered
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Where ever you go, there you are
    Posts
    276
    Design build almost always produces a cheaper price, but there are unseen pitfalls in DB. Construction can be of a cheaper quality, remember you are giving the GC the purse strings and the authority. The independant construction administrator is only a good idea if it someone that you have 100% faith in or is directly vested in the project. These guys are consultants after all and can burn through fee chasing ghosts on a job.

    My biggest beef with the process is that it removes design controll away from the architect (who, as all AIA contracts suggest works as the owners rep) This means the ability to interpret the drawings (technical and asthetic concerns) now rests in the hands of the builder, who is also recieving the fee, if he wants to cut corners he will.

    Obviously builders tend to like this scenario better, less risk and more control for them.

    It boils down to what you are building, most of the DB projects I have worked on have been warehouses, which are low intensity from a design and technical point. DB worked good for these projects from a cost standpoint, though the product was ass-ugly (you just knew I was going t say that). The more complex the job the better your chances of success with a bid process.

    A bid job can also come in cheaper than DB depending on economic conditions, likewise a GC who promises a set fee in DB can nickle and dime you later if his costs start climbing, just like on a bid job.
    She has been a bad girl, she is like a chemical, though you try and stop it she is like a narcotic.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    9,920
    We approved going with the design-build route last night. The builder has done a considerable amount of work in our area, including the city's indoor aquatics center ( http://www.whitewateraquatic.com/ ). The architect is one they have paired with in the past to build a "green" residential development in a nearby community. Design Coalition ( www.designcoalition.org ) is well-versed in sustainable architecture and should bring many good ideas to the project. I'll keep everyone posted as the project develops.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2003
    Location
    NSW, Australia
    Posts
    1,530
    Sorry I missed the earlier discussion - I appreciate I'm telling a joke after the party here.

    We use both methods (in Australia we refer to them as 'Design and Construct' or 'Traditional'). The traditional approach is used when we have a desire for a superior architectural treatment and we are prepared to wear the architectural fees attached. You also tend to face higher variation charges in a traditional contract because the builders compete on price initially, then look for design anomolies during construction to make their margin - while it is an argument between the architect and builder, you pay the bills of both.

    All other projects are design and construct. The primary contractor provides a fixed price and is responsible for delivery of the project. Most variations are the responsibility of the primary contractor, as is the design, so cost escalation is virtually ruled out. It is desirable from the point of view of delivering projects to a budget and time frame (which is typically important in the public sector) but can lead to lower quality design and building, especially if you lead a hole in your specifications.

    Under either scenario, any large project we do (say over $3 million) we engage an seperate project manager to document progress, variations and contractor performance. We win every dispute due to the exemplary record keeping of our project manager. We have project managers on the payroll who look after smaller projects, but as they will have several projects underway at any one time, a dedicated contractor works for us on the bigger jobs.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 43
    Last post: 02 Sep 2013, 4:37 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last post: 30 Aug 2008, 1:45 AM
  3. Replies: 2
    Last post: 10 Jan 2008, 11:06 AM
  4. Replies: 10
    Last post: 26 Jul 2005, 3:43 PM
  5. Design Build & Federal Funding
    Economic and Community Development
    Replies: 0
    Last post: 17 Feb 2004, 3:41 PM