The popularity of design-build project delivery is steadily increasing, but there are still plenty of questions to answer and myths to bust. If you’re a business owner looking at options for building or renovating your workspace, chances are your research has lead to mixed information or you have concerns of your own. Here, we address some common misconceptions over the design-build method of project delivery.
Myth: Design-Build firms are less creative
Some will tell you that a design-build firm offers fewer creative possibilities than hiring an independent architect, but with creativity being dependent on the team or individual, it’s only fair to judge after viewing previous work. Also, while design-build teams accomplish both designing and building, that doesn’t meant there’s any compromise on skill or creative ability of the designers.
A design-build firm that specializes in a certain industry, the way we specialize in workspaces, will have a larger pool of creative solutions for their expertise. An independent designer or architect can do great work, but without in depth knowledge of designing for office interiors, their creative solutions in that specific area may be lacking.
Focusing on one specialty allows a team to keep building upon knowledge gained in each project. For us, we live and breath workplace design, which is where our creativity grows and excels.
Myth: The owner will lose control over their project
This simply isn’t true, so if you’re a proactive business owner, put your fear to rest. Ignoring the input of the client would be counterproductive to creating a great workspace solution — because no one knows the inner workings of an office and how staff uses a space better than the owner.
This a good reason to review and discuss the type of delivery arrangement you have with your design-build firm. Some firms will allow you to be as involved as you want to be. Many times the owner is involved at the beginning of the project, during the intake and designing phase. Your input, intent, expectations, and ideas are used in the designing process, and the plans won’t go into action without first signing off.
Also, many design-build arrangements are considered “open book.” This means that throughout the process, the owner receives regular progress updates or presentations. These meetings create multiple opportunities to provide feedback.
Myth: Design-Build uses a single method
Some assume that all design-build firms use one umbrella approach, but there is definitely more than one way to do design-build. Though the term has become a catchall phrase for many different project delivery methods, there are many with their own advantages. Some of which include:
- Engineer-led design-build
- Design, bid, build
- Design, build, operate and maintain (DBOM)
- Construction Management at risk (also called CM/GC or CMAR)
- Integrated project delivery (IPD)
Many contracting formats exist to accommodate these numerous delivery methods. Each has its own appropriate application. You’ll want to explore each process to see which might be best for your particular project.
Myth: Design-build is good for speed, but bad for quality
Because of the speed that many design-build firms are able to complete their projects, is raises the suspicion that quality is being compromised. Surely, something must be sacrificed in order to turnout results so quickly.
This is another false. Quality is paramount to any top design-build project providers, ourselves included. Project completion is quick due to the ability to perform certain activities simultaneously, but never carelessly. Design-build firms know how to do the most efficient sequencing, which is how projects are delivered quickly while still maintaining high quality.
Myth: More risks associated with putting all eggs in one basket
You might be worried that one company oversees your entire project from start to finish, but there are advantages to this approach. For starters, because a design-build company is a one-point of contact, a good company will assume full responsibility for any problems. You won’t find anyone trying to pin the blame on a different party, and it really shrinks the chances of miscommunication.
By working closely with your design-build team in the conceptual and engineering stages, you’ll know for sure that the project is exactly what you want before it’s built. Once in the building stage, staying on time, in budget, and quality control all fall on the shoulders of the design-build team.
There may be a lot of misinformation around design-build as a project delivery method. With so many different methods that fall under the design-build umbrella, it’s important to research and uncover the facts. Design-build offers many opportunities to build exceptional projects, faster. For more information about our process, visit our process page, or contact us for more information.