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The difference between traditional 'design-bid-build' and 'design-build' project delivery

March 13, 2017
When it comes to dental office design, the design-build approach offers many advantages.

When it comes to dental office design, the design-build approach offers unique advantages

Before you begin your dental office design and construction project, it is important to understand the options available. Many dentists assume their only choice is to separately hire an architect, interior designer, and general contractor. However, there are unique advantages to using a "design-build" firm that does all three.

Understanding the design-build approach

The following overview will help you understand the difference between "traditional" dental office design and construction versus a "design-build" approach.

With the traditional "design-bid-build" process, an architect is hired first to create architectural drawings, and an interior designer helps select interior finishes. Drawings and specifications are issued to contractors to review and bid from. The contractors submit estimates to complete the project as specified by the architect and design teams. You then select one of the general contractors to build your office. In this scenario, you work directly with three separate companies: the architecture firm, the interior designer, and the general contractor.

By contrast, a design-build firm is comprised of architects, interior designers, and construction experts who work together as a single entity. This integration facilitates collaboration between the design and construction disciplines. It typically facilitates speedier project delivery, as preconstruction services overlap the design process.

Benefits of design-build project delivery

There are real advantages to choosing the design-build approach instead of the traditional approach. Because design-build firms are responsible for the design process, they are much less likely to issue change orders and trigger extra charges during the construction process than a typical general contractor would be. It is also possible to reduce overall costs by taking advantage of shared overhead and operating costs of one design-build firm instead of several separate firms.

Project timelines are typically expedited when preconstruction and value engineering efforts take place concurrent with the design phase. In our experience, design-build project delivery typically offers a 30% faster overall project schedule.

Finally, the design-build approach mitigates your risk by creating a single point of responsibility throughout the entire project. When an architect, designer, and general contractor are all hired separately, responsibility for a successful outcome is divided, and this often results in conflict. Navigating this conflict can be extremely stressful and is easily avoided by working with one qualified design-build firm.

About Apex Design Build

Apex Design Build is a visionary leader in fully integrated design and construction of dental and medical practices. Our firm is proud to employ talented designers, architects, project managers, and construction experts. For more than 30 years, we have provided exceptional value to clients by combining design and construction expertise to mitigate risk, save time and cost, and create total accountability. If you are interested in learning more about how the Apex Design Build approach will make a difference for your practice, please contact us today to schedule a consultation.


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