The goal of a successful Design-Build partnership is to provide the owner with an avenue for design/construction cost savings, while reducing the construction time of a project. The Contractor and Architect form a single entity that is under one contract with the owner. Thus, there is a single point of responsibility, which allows the owner to focus on the project needs in lieu of spending time coordinating between the Architect and Contractor.
The cost savings on a project can be achieved by the Architect and Contractor working together as a single team throughout all phases of the projects design and construction. By communicating design information as a team, alternative building materials, building construct-ability and value engineering options can be analyzed continuously throughout the design phases for the project. The Contractor can also thoroughly review the drawings and identify drawing coordination issues that could lead to potential change orders. In addition, the Contractor can provide the owner with anticipated building construction costs at specified milestone dates throughout the design phase. This cost information will allow the owner to make design decisions based on potential construction cost implications that may otherwise not be known until the bidding phase of the project.
Additional project cost savings occur because the Architects design fees can be lowered due to a reduced scope of work on a project. Generally 30% of the Architects design fees are allotted for Bidding and Construction Administration Phases of a project. In a Design-Build partnership, the Architect has a reduced role in these design phases because the scopes of work will be coordinated by the Contractor. Thus, the Architect’s design fees can usually be lowered by approximately 20 to 25% because of their reduced scope of work in these design phases.
The time savings on a project can be achieved due to the fact that the design and construction phases can occur simultaneously. The bidding period that usually occurs after the design phase can be eliminated because the contractor will provide the owner with updated construction costs throughout the design phases of the project. In addition, a design-build partnership allows for projects to be “fast-tracked” which decreases the amount of construction time for a project. Building materials and equipment can be procured concurrent with the completion of the construction documents.
Additional time savings can occur through the Contractor and Architect working together to reduce the amount of time required to review shop drawings. Generally, the Architect will require 2 weeks to review shop drawings, but this time-frame can be reduced by a week. With the shorter review period of the shop drawings by the Architect, the Contractor can procure the building materials earlier, which will save time in the overall construction schedule. These time savings will reduce the overall cost of the project and allow for the owner to occupy the completed facility at an earlier date.