What is the design and build process?

Whether you use design and build or a more traditional approach to your project will ultimately depend on your own objectives and your own understanding of the best method to deliver them. This goes right back to how you would like to develop the brief and how much risk you want to take on with a project.

What is beyond doubt is that design and build is the route for you if you need to minimise costs, want certainty about budget, need the project to be completed on time, demand an exceptionally well designed and practical end result, are happy to work directly with one firm that is responsible for all major aspects of the project and are looking for a project that will be completed to a high standard – your own.

Before choosing a partner, you should look beyond their business model and ask pragmatic questions. Look closely at certain key factors about how they work including the skill and experience of the designers working on the job, your own budget and expectations and, finally, the ability of firms to implement the design to the right standard. Not only can design and build offer outstanding end results, you are also less likely to face divided opinions and a backlash from people who don’t like the sort of workplace that has been designed as much to look ‘interesting’ in a portfolio as it is to meet your own needs.

Another important point in favour of design and build is the contractor’s ability to better integrate the complex demands placed on modern workplaces, especially legislative, health and safety, technological and environmental concerns. The solution delivered by the contractor should be practical as well as elegant.

One significant thing to bear in mind is that around a fifth of all projects, regardless of how they are developed, will have major defects of some sort. The way that design and build projects are set up means that in the majority of cases, the costs to put problems right are absorbed by the contractor, whereas problems associated with traditional projects are more frequently left to clients to resolve.

Finally, if problems do arise, using a design and build contractor as a single point of contact means there is usually significantly less scope for contractors to get involved in blaming each other for any defects and overruns that may have occurred. To put it at its most simple: you’ll only have one backside to kick. Getting too involved with what happens outside your direct relationship with your design and build partner is a diversion.

The quality of a design is not an intrinsic benefit of any system. That comes down to the talent and experience of individual designers working on the project. A design and build firm is at least as able to employ these skilled individuals as an architectural practice, probably more so.

Working with the right design and build partner means that you will achieve exceptional results. You are also far less likely to divide opinion about the merits of your workplace and can sleep at night knowing the people you’re working with are focused exclusively on your own objectives to ensure that the project is completed on time, to budget and to the right standard. In the majority of cases, it’s simply a better way of completing a project.

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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