What are the differences between different project delivery approaches?

  • The traditional design-bid-build process is where the Owner contracts with separate entities for each the design and construction of a project. As the most traditional approach, it is well understood, and the design team acts to protect the Owner’s interests. The disadvantage is the ability to work directly with a construction expert on costing and constructability.
  • A design-build approach uses one firm to design the project and construct it, so one benefit is a sole point of responsibility, as well as cost and time savings potential. It can be a more complex process and may be subject to a less balanced view.
  • A construction manager is engaged early in the process and acts as the Owner’s representative providing schedule control, cost control, and coordination in providing or procuring planning, design, and construction services. A CM typically guarantees the price and schedule. A CM provides an extended set of resources for the Owner and can provide assistance with purchasing plans and other items not included in a traditional contract. There is potential for improved constructability, The CM assuming any level of risk will equate to an additional cost, and it is important for the partners to trust one another.
  • A turn-key development project is where the project is constructed by a developer and sold or turned over to a buyer in a ready-to-use condition. There may be a certain lack of control during this process, although it is dependent upon when and how the contract is established. The advantage is that the team usually works together on a consistent basis and can provide an accelerated schedule and some cost benefits.