Design-build focuses on combining the design,permit, and construction schedules in order to streamline the traditional design-bid-build environment. This does not shorten the time it takes to complete the individual tasks of creating construction documents (working drawings and specifications), acquiring building and other permits, or actually constructing the building. Instead, a design-build firm will strive to bring together design and construction professionals in a collaborative environment to complete these tasks at the same time.
Typically the hallmark of a Design/Build project is that one organization is responsible for both design and construction of the project. If this organization is a contractor, the process is known as “Contractor-led Design-Build”. If the organization is a design firm, the process is known as “Design-led Design-Build”. In either case, the organization employed by the owner rarely handles both aspects of design and construction in-house. In fact, the organization often subcontracts with on-site personnel (if design-led) as well as architects and engineers (if contractor-led).
Design-build (or design/build, and abbreviated D-B or D/B accordingly) is a construction project delivery system where, in contrast to “design-bid-build” (or “design-tender”), the design and construction aspects are contracted for with a single entity known as the design-builder or design-build contractor. The design-builder is usually the general contractor, but in many cases it is also the design professional (architect or engineer). This system is used to minimize the project risk for an owner and to reduce the delivery schedule by overlapping the design phase and construction phase of a project. Where the design-builder is the contractor, the design professionals are typically retained directly by the contractor. This is one of the oldest forms of construction since developing from the “Master Builder” approach.