Design - Bid - Build
With or Without a Construction Manager

The 'traditional' procurement route, sometimes referred to as 'design bid build' (or 'bid build' by contractors) remains the most commonly used method of procuring building works.

The client first appoints consultants to design the project in detail, and then prepare tender documentation, including drawings, work schedules and bills of quantities. Contractors are then invited to submit tenders for the construction of the project, usually on a single-stage, competitive basis. This may be referred to as a 'traditional contract'. The contractor is not responsible for the design, other than temporary works, although some traditional contracts do provide for the contractor to design specific parts of the works.

Typically, the client retains the design consultants during the construction phase to prepare any additional design information that may be required, to review any designs that might be prepared by the contractor, and to inspect the works. Normally, one consultant (often, but not necessarily, the architect) will be appointed to administer the contract. If a CM is used they will normally be the ones to do most of this oversight. Traditional construction contracts are most commonly lump-sum contracts, however, other types can be used. This form of procurement is suitable for both experienced and inexperienced clients. Fully developing the design before tender gives the client certainty about design quality and cost, but it can be slower than other forms of contracting, and as the contractor is appointed only once the design is complete, they are not able to help improve the ability to build and packaging of proposals as they develop. Watch out for pitfalls this is not a perfect solution. CMs can create problems as well as solve them.

If a CM is used the key is excellent communicate, this means good communications among owner, designer and CM firm MUST established early in the project, when Architect and Construction Manager are brought on-board. Poor communication and synchronization of direction spells failure from the start.

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James G. Zack, Jr.
Executive Director
Navigant Construction Forum,
Navigant Consulting, Inc.


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