How Owners Select Project Delivery Methods

By on March 30, 2018

From ConstructionDIVE:  Long before the first shovel-full of dirt is excavated and the first screw is driven, a project’s owner must decide what project delivery method is best suited for the job. There is no shortage of options to consider, and although the project budget and scope certainly play into the decision, the culture and mindset of the owner and developer are paramount.

Design-bid-build (DBB) is the traditional model, but other methods, including design-build and integrated project delivery, are gaining traction.

Design-build, in which the design-build team works under a single contract with the owner, gets a project done 33% faster than other project delivery methods, said Lisa Washington, executive director and CEO of the Design-Build Institute of America. She attributes that efficiency to the overlap of design and construction.

The team, which frequently involves the owner, designer, contractor and key specialty trades, meet early on discuss how best to use the budget to achieve the owner’s goals while addressing challenges and constraints. This allows for more design flexibility that the more prescriptive design-bid-build approach.

“Building on the expertise of all the key players, including the owner, they find the best solution within the budget the owner feels has addressed their goals and challenges,” Washington said. “That’s where the innovation and collaboration in design-build really kick in and bring value.”

Washington said that management consulting and investment banking firm FMI Corp. research shows owner satisfaction is much higher in design-build environments because everyone creates a vision together.

Integrated project delivery (IPD) provides a methodology and process that allows for consistency and understanding of how to improve construction, said Stephen Powell, senior project manager for CBRE Healthcare. “It plays off of a lean construction mentality in order to get to IPD,” Powell said. “In that mentality, you look for ways to improve something that has room for improvement.”

He said the owner generally is the most important person in executing an IPD project. “The owner has to have an understanding of IPD in order to put it on the table,” he said. “I don’t know that it would work as strongly if it was driven by just one of the other partners.”

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