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  • Mat Pelletier

Design Build vs. Design Bid Build.

I know we have a large student population reading here so for those moving on to Higher Ed. in A/E/C and those who don't grasp the basics of Design Build, read on. Here's the facts. A customer has a construction need, hires a CM or GC to offer a control budget which is an approximate price to complete the project. The CM then begins design and value engineering accordingly to back fit into the customers budget they require and then lock in a negotiated price. This is a very transparent way of collaborating with a customer and produces the price and design they ultimately require. This is the process most successful projects take from inception to completion.

On the contrary, Design Bid Build, is when a municipality or customer designs a project with very little target budgeting completed. Typically design agents only, no CM or GC. The thinking here is they will take a completed design and put it on the street and create a auction style process. The lowest bidder wins regardless of qualifications. Lowest bidder is usually the one who made the largest mistake with their estimate. Shortly after contract award, the low bidder panics, has to comb through the plans for design errors in an effort to generate change orders to make up for the losses in the auction process and cut corners at every opportunity typically. This creates a rift between all parties. That's it. My question is, would you hire your doctor or your kids baby sitter like this? Next time you think your getting a great value, I think you better check your process for the truth. Sorry, not really though.

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