FEATURED CUInsight: Is design-build right for your project?

by Nina Penson

Are you considering a new branch project? Are you beginning to scope out plans for a new administration or operations center to serve as the hub for your credit union network? Before you engage an architect or general contractor to begin the standard design-bid-build process, it is worth your time to consider whether a design-build firm is the right fit for you, your organization and your bottom line.

The design-build method is a comprehensive, cohesive and collaborative process in which the architect, general contractor and construction project manager all work together–often under one roof. It’s a highly collaborative process with several key benefits over the traditional design-bid-build process:

  • Better Value: Your investment goes farther with a design-build firm. Because the right people are at the table from day one, working together to scope out the design and project plan, you can be confident the plan, scope of work and associated costs are solid and vetted. In fact, a study by Construction Industry Institute (CII)/Penn State Research found that in comparison to design-bid-build projects, design-build projects cost 6% less.
  • Faster Completion: The traditional design-bid-build process happens in a linear fashion moving from conceptual planning to construction. With a design-build process, however, project timelines and tasks can overlap, speeding up the process. For example, the design process can occur while estimates and bids are put together and permits are pulled. As a result, your project is delivered faster. The same CII/Penn State study found that design-build projects were delivered 33% faster overall than design-bid-build projects.
  • Reduced Cost: The higher level of collaboration leads to greater transparency across all members of the team, reducing the need for change orders and cost increases. With a design-build firm, a realistic budget is set up front with great transparency. Because the entire team is working together from the start, costly change orders are fewer and farther between. The Penn State study also found that design-build projects had a 6% reduction in change orders.
  • Integrated Branding: Collaboration between architects, interior designers and branding agencies can be near impossible to achieve with a design-bid-build process due to complicated timing issues and lack of a cohesive, unified goal. With design-build, however, all of these players can be under the same roof, jointly creating a unique branded vision for the project from day one.

Perhaps the greatest value in working with a design-build firm is the shared vision. In the traditional design-bid-build approach, an architect might design a project, and it may be interpreted differently by both the project manager and the contractor resulting in a different “finished” project than expected and leading to costly change orders. With the collaborative team approach of a design-build firm, all project contributors are a part of the process from the start. They’re around the table from conceptual drawings, through design and construction. This ensures a common vision and strategy for implementation. When done well, the design-build process lends itself to a “no surprises” mantra, with a commitment to transparency within the team and with the client.

Want to learn more? Click here to learn about La Macchia Group’s design-build approach.

See the article here in CUInsight.