Many of our ancient civilizations used the design-build (D-B) delivery system to design and construct some of the world’s greatest structures. To the best of our knowledge, builders began to rethink the use of D-B in the 1970s. This method of contracting eliminated the contractual separation of design and construction responsibility inherent in the traditional design-bid-build (D-B-B) method. Its first modern application was primarily by developers in the office market, typically on buildings around 40,000 to 70,000 sq ft.
D-B most likely resurfaced as a result of frustration with the traditional construction delivery system. If the architect’s or engineer’s design, once bid, was over-budget, it required costly time and manpower to redesign and rebid. Sometimes the “cost” was so high as to put the entire project in jeopardy. Under D-B, the contractor provides the owner with a fixed price for the construction before the design process begins, and works with the architect to make sure the price holds up. Construction can then be initiated on a phased basis while design is still underway.