Even though it has a long and successful track record, use of the design/build method for commercial construction continues to be underutilized and frequently misunderstood.
WHAT EXACTLY IS DESIGN/BUILD?
Beginning with its most fundamental characteristic, in this method a single firm takes responsibility for completing both design and construction. In place of having separate and independent relationships with architect and builder, the owner looks to this single firm to produce his project, start to finish.
IN HOUSE OR PRIVATE DESIGN SERVICES?
There are variations within design/build which can produce distinctively different results for certain projects. The most fundamental difference may be in the manner a design/build firm goes about executing its design responsibilities. For some firms, basic design is performed in-house. For others, design services are procured from independent architects and engineers as needed. There are advantages in having in-house design services as a permanent part of the company. Communication can be systematized between design and building departments. Details, specifications and materials of construction can be standardized for use on future projects. In the second method, design is procured from independent architects and engineers who work under contract to the builder on a job-by-job basis in their execution of the project documents. This allows for the selection of design talent to meet a particular project's needs. This flexibility is particularly important to a firm which constructs a variety of building types.