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Design-Build vs Design-Bid-Build: Pros and Cons Unveiled

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Regarding construction projects, several methods can be used to complete each step of the process. Two of the most common methods are design-build and design-bid-build. While both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, project managers and stakeholders need to understand how they differ to decide which method to use for their specific project.

In this article, we will dive into the details of design-build and design-bid-build, exploring the pros and cons of each approach and providing real-life case studies to highlight their effectiveness.

Understanding Design-Build

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Design-build is a construction method where a single entity or team handles both the design and construction phases. This means the owner only has to work with one contractor throughout the project, streamlining communication and decision-making processes. The design-build process usually involves the following steps:

  1. Initial Consultation: The client discusses their project requirements with the design-build team.
  2. Design Phase: The design-build team creates a detailed plan and proposal for the project.
  3. Construction Phase: Construction commences once the design has been finalized and authorized.
  4. Project Completion: The design-build team delivers the completed project to the client.


  • Single Point of Responsibility: With only one entity responsible for design and construction, there is no room for finger-pointing or passing the blame if something goes wrong.
  • Faster project completion: The streamlined communication and decision-making process can lead to shorter project timelines.
  • Cost Savings: In some cases, design-build can result in cost savings as materials and labor are often negotiated at a lower cost.


  • Limited control over design: The client is less involved in the design process and may feel they need more control over the final product.
  • Less competitive pricing: With more than one contractor bidding on the project, there is less opportunity for price comparison and negotiation.
  • Potential conflict of interest: The design-build team may prioritize their interests over the client's, potentially leading to lower quality work or cost-cutting measures.

Understanding Design-Bid-Build

In contrast to design-build, design-bid-build is a sequential approach where separate entities handle the design and construction phases. The process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Design Phase: An architect or designer collaborates with the owner to design a comprehensive project plan.
  2. Bidding Phase: Once the design is finalized, it is bid to multiple contractors.
  3. Construction Phase: The awarded contractor begins construction on the project.
  4. Project Completion: The completed project is handed over to the owner.


  • More control over design: The owner has more involvement in the design process and can ensure their vision is fully realized.
  • Competitive bidding: With multiple contractors bidding for the project, there is a better chance of getting a competitive price.
  • Reduced risk of conflicts of interest: With separate entities handling design and construction, there is less potential for bias or conflicts of interest.


  • Longer project timelines: The sequential design-bid-build process may result in longer timelines.
  • Higher cost potential: With separate contracts for design and construction, there is a risk of higher costs if issues arise during the construction phase.
  • Increased coordination and communication efforts: As multiple entities are involved, the owner may have to manage more communication and coordination efforts.

Comparison: Design-Build vs Design-Bid-Build

Both design-build and design-bid-build have unique strengths and weaknesses, making them suitable for different projects. Design-build is often preferred for fast-track projects with tight timelines and complex designs. This approach integrates the design and construction phases, allowing for faster project delivery and potential cost savings. The design-build team works collaboratively, promoting efficient communication and streamlined decision-making.

On the other hand, design-bid-build may be better suited for larger and more traditional projects where the owner wants greater control over the design process. This method completes the design phase first, followed by a competitive bidding process to select a construction contractor. This sequential approach provides an opportunity for comprehensive design development and thorough evaluation of construction bids.

The project's specific needs and goals should be the basis for choosing the appropriate method ultimately. Factors such as project complexity, schedule constraints, budget considerations, and the owner's desired level of involvement in the design process should all be considered. By carefully evaluating these factors, project stakeholders can determine the most appropriate project delivery method to achieve their desired outcomes.

Contact BB&R Design-Build for Your Next Project

At BB&R Design-Build, we have extensive experience in design-build and design-bid-build methods for various projects. Our team of expert is dedicated to providing quality results that meet our client's unique needs and goals. Contact us today for consultation and discuss with us on how we can help bring your next project to life. Let us show you the benefits of design-build or design-bid-build and help you determine the best approach for your project. Let our team take care of all aspects of your project, from start to finish, so that you can have peace of mind and a successful outcome.


The design-build and design-bid-build methods each provide unique advantages suited to specific types of projects. Your choice between these two depends largely on your project's complexity, timeline, budget, and desired involvement level. While design-build promotes efficient communication, potential cost savings, and faster delivery, design-bid-build offers more control over the design process and competitive pricing and reduces potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, it's crucial to thoroughly evaluate the nature and requirements of your project before choosing a method. At BB&R Design-Build, we offer expertise in both processes, ensuring your project's successful and efficient completion. Whether you prioritize speed, cost-effectiveness, or design control, we can provide your unique needs and help you realize your vision.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the primary difference between Design-Build and Design-Bid-Build?

The main difference lies in how the design and construction phases are handled. With design-build, a single entity is responsible for both phases, while in design-bid-build, separate entities handle these phases.

Does Design-Build always result in faster project completion?

While design-build can lead to faster project completion due to streamlined communication and decision-making, it's only sometimes guaranteed. Factors such as project complexity and 

unforeseen challenges can affect timelines.

Does Design-Bid-Build offer more control over design to the client?

Yes, in a design-bid-build approach, the client is more involved in the design process, offering more control over the final product.

How do I decide which method to use for my project?

The decision should be based on specific project needs and goals. Factors such as project complexity, schedule constraints, budget considerations, and your desired level of involvement in the design process should be evaluated. Consulting with a professional to understand the implications of each method for your specific project can also be beneficial.

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