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How the Construction
Process Works


The Design-Bid-Build (DBB) Construction Delivery Method is commonly used as the traditional organizational structure for construction projects. It is favored for its simplicity and perceived cost efficiency by project owners.

In construction, different delivery methods determine the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders throughout various phases. Design-bid-build follows a linear progression with three distinct phases, as the name implies. This page will explore the comparison between design-bid-build and and a popular alternate method called design-build.


Design-Bid-Build Process

1. Design

In the initial phase of the design-bid-build model, the project owner envisions the project and engages a design team comprising architects and engineers to conceptualize the entire undertaking. Together, the owner and designers collaborate to define the project's structure, features, scope, and the key criteria for a successful outcome.

During this phase, the design team develops a timeline, a preliminary budget, and refines the designs to align with the owner's requirements and expectations. With careful consideration, the architects and engineers transform the owner's idea into a polished and finalized concept for the new project.

Design-Bid-Build Process

2. Bid

Once the project is ready, the owner initiates the next step by inviting contractor bids and selecting the most suitable construction team. In public projects, the bidding process is open to all qualifying contractors registered to work on government projects. For private projects, the owner can decide whether to allow anyone to bid or limit it to a select few known contractors.

The bid package will contain comprehensive information that bidders need to assess their costs. This includes construction specifications, project requirements, the chosen project delivery method, as well as any applicable bonding or insurance requirements.

Contractors participating in the bidding process will provide details about their companies, credentials, and track records to demonstrate their capability in executing the project successfully.

During the bidding phase, contractors carefully analyze material and labor costs, equipment needs, allocate project overhead costs, and may request subcontractor bids to determine project costs accurately.

The bidding process is highly competitive, with owners often preferring the lower-cost bid for construction. However, the decision-making process also considers the contractor's experience and reputation. This competitive bidding approach is why owners generally perceive DBB as a method that helps deliver projects at the lowest possible price.

Design-Bid-Build Process

3. Build

In the final phase, the owner proceeds to engage a general contractor to carry out the construction work. The contractor assumes responsibility for supervising the daily activities on site and managing subcontractors.

Throughout the construction process, the owner maintains regular communication with the contractor. If any design modifications are required during construction, the contractor will generate a change order. In such cases, the owner may consult with the design team, review the associated costs, and provide approval for the change.


Design-Build Process

Contrary to the Design-Bid-Build approach, Design-Build (DB) entails a more collaborative method of construction. When an owner chooses the design-build delivery method, they enter into a single contract with both the design team (architects and engineers) and the contractor.

The key distinction between design-build and design-bid-build processes lies in the extent of interaction between contractors and designers. In design-build projects, contractors are involved from the initial stages and can provide input or suggest modifications to the project designs early on.

This early involvement of contractors allows the owner to benefit from the contractor's construction expertise. Plans can be adjusted to enhance buildability, optimize construction timelines, or modify construction materials and finishes to align better with the owner's budget.

Since the contractor is engaged early, the construction phase in design-build projects can experience significantly reduced timelines. As each portion of the design is completed, it can be released for construction, enabling simultaneous progress in both building and design processes.

For complex and lengthy projects, the opportunity for concurrent design and construction can potentially save months or even years from the project's overall schedule.

The high level of collaboration among the contractor, designer, and builder in design-build projects can lead to a final outcome that is more efficient, optimized, and of higher quality. However, it is important to acknowledge that design-build also carries additional risks for the contractor bidding on a project that has not yet been fully designed.

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