The essence of a design/build team is all about winning. Owners, general contractors, engineers and sub-contractors working together in a non-traditional method, as opposed to the bid process, to produce a fast paced, well orchestrated game plan that saves time and money for developers and owners who seek sophisticated results. Wineries, Hi-Tech facilities, manufacturing plants and public facilities lend themselves to the design/build process. Typically the owner selects an architect and a contractor, who selects his “team” of engineering, plumbing, electrical and HVAC contractors to design/build the project.
Most of the commercial work that LeDuc & Dexter performs is design/build. Bill Zeeb, who heads the Commercial Department at LeDuc & Dexter, sees the trend as a positive, “Projects can start before the owner has made final decisions on what he wants, the same job wouldn’t go out to bid until after he had made his final decisions.” This saves time with a quicker start and gives time to plan as the project evolves. Unlike a project that goes to bid and is awarded to the low bidders, who meet on the job site, “The design/build team all know each other from the early planning stage,” says Zeeb, “and the plans are submitted early for permits. There’s more coordination. When bidders arrive on the job site they haven’t seen the plans, they also compete for space, and it’s not as smooth.”
As good as design/build sounds, it’s not always an automatic green light situation. “Design/build is hard to sell,” explains Zeeb, “for one thing, there are no low bidders.” The subs have to sell to the general contractor and the general contractor sells the concept to the owner.” The benefits can be enormous once the design/build team is in place.
Next month we’ll look at the dynamics and relationships within the design/build team and how it helps them win in a big way.