What is design and build?

Design and build often offers the simplest way to develop and construct a new workplace because it is based on an arrangement in which you partner with one firm to design, manage and deliver the project rather than one in which you have to manage several relationships.

Complex projects in which you have to manage several relationships can deliver great results but they invariably rely on strong lines of communication and responsibility in the relationships between a base of vendors and suppliers, whereas design and build offers you one point of contact.

In the best cases, design and build also allows elements of the project to be developed concurrently rather than consecutively as they would be with a diverse base of suppliers. In the majority of cases this reduces the time taken to complete a project.

The success of design and build as a concept is easy to measure. A 2010 study by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) concluded that there was clear empirical evidence that design and build ‘projects performed better in terms of construction costs, unit costs, construction speed and intensity of construction. This is despite the fact that projects tendered under design and build method were more complex, of greater value and larger than those tendered using traditional methods.’

Similar research from the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) found similar results. Design and build achieves this without sacrificing the standard of design and the excellence of the end result. Little wonder that nearly a third of all new construction is now accounted for by design and build.

As with all such principles, there is some variation within the design and build model that may influence your choice of how to proceed.

At its most straightforward, design and build is based on an integrated contract, with your partner developing, designing and constructing the building based on a brief. This may be based on a simple, minimal statement or may have been developed in detail by an external consultant. Novated design and build contracts are closer to traditional models, in that the client’s in-house team develops the design which is then passed to a contractor who takes responsibility for design from that point and constructs the building.

To find out more, download our whitepaper “Design and build; simply better results”, which lays out the business case for design and build, explains the process in more detail and will help you reach a decision about the best approach for your project:

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