Design and Build Procurement/Design and Build Contracts in Construction

Design and build procurement

In the design and build contract/procurement method (also called as design and construct contracts), the contractor is appointed to design and built the project. In most other procurement methods, consultants are appointed to design the project, and the contractor is appointed to execute the project. However, in this procurement method contractor will do all design works for the client.

In design and build procurement system contractor is responsible for the below things,

Key features of the design and build contract process/route

  • Design- the contractor should design the project as per client’s requirements.
  • Plan- the contractor, should plan the project (fulfilling the client’s expected time frame)
  • Organise- the contractor should organise material and labour to complete the project.
  • Control- the contractor should control the expected quality of the project.
  • Execute- the contractor should execute and handover the project, according to the agreed time plan and budget.

There is no requirement of a design consultant in design and build procurement method. However, some clients may appoint a design consultant to design initial conceptual drawings.

This procurement method is mainly used by government and semi-government entities for renovation and refurbishment projects. 

Design and Build contract
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Process and selection method for design & build contracts

Contractors are choosing by a selective tendering process for design and build projects.

First of all, Clients will ask selected contractors to submit technical proposals along with their initial designs and project plan. And the client will thoroughly evaluate these proposals before moving to the next phase. Mainly client will look into aesthetical appearance of the design, quality of proposed materials and time frame (project programme) for the project proposed by each contractor. After evaluating the design proposals client will select a few contractors for the next process. In this next process, the client will give their comment regarding design and ask contractors to do necessary alterations matching to clients requirement. Along with this altered revise design proposal client will ask contractors to submit cost proposals.

Finally, the client will evaluate both design and cost proposals to select the most suitable contractor.

design and build contracts
Image by bridgesward from Pixabay

As a summary, design and build contract is appropriate where the client wants early start of works. Works can start immediately after finalising most required drawings, while the detail design is under development (Construction works and design can be overlap). Furthermore, in the design and built procurement method contractor will provide his maximum expertise at the design stage.

So this is the process of selecting a suitable contractor in design and build contract. So what are the pros and cons of design and build procurement route?

So below, we have listed out the advantages and disadvantages of design and build contracts.

Advantages and disadvantages of design and build procurement method

Advantages of design and build procurement method,

  1. The contractor will have responsibility for both design and construction. So the client’s duties and risks are less.
  2. Works can be started immediately with initial drawings.
  3. Low possibility to fluctuate the project price, the contractor will ensure to deliver the project without exceeding the budget (and without varying agreed quality)
  4. The client can use the contractor’s expertise to develop the final design.

Disadvantages of design and build procurement method,

  1. Design finalisation will be a challenging process unless the contractor understands clients expectation clearly.
  2. Any change to original agreed design can be challenging and expensive; the contractor may ask for cost increment.
  3. Since all contractors are submitting different designs, the client may face difficulties to assess design proposals.
  4. The contractor will propose design proposals which are easy to build (rather than focusing on the aesthetic appearance of the design and cost of building)

Read our previous article on Lump-sum contracts here


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    1. raoneqs says:


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