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Pros & Cons of the Design-Bid-Build Delivery Method, by Corinne Maddox, CCM, CFM

The design-bid-build construction delivery method is the most common method of contracting. The architect/engineer (A/E) prepares a set of plans and specifications, and it is issued it to numerous general contractors who prepare competitive bids for the work. Advantages of this method are that it is well understood with common roles and responsibilities by all parties, requiring less owner coordination. If best practices are used, the cost is usually lowest of any contracting methods. It also offers the owner the best control of the end product, since construction documents are completed prior to starting construction. The chief disadvantage is that it takes more time to complete the construction documents and bidding process, before construction can begin. Also, without a construction manager or contractor on board during design, lower cost design alternatives, products requiring a long leadtime, and scheduling issues may be missed. Finally, because the bidders attempt to minimize their bids to win the work, there is a higher risk of questionable product substitutions, subcontractor bid mistakes, lower construction quality and change orders, which require increased project oversight and administration.

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