Out with the Old "Design, Bid, and Build" Method
There are several obvious drawbacks to the old "design, bid and build" method:
Design drawings and specifications are more expensive.
During the bidding process, if a contractor wishes to be considered for a construction contract they must staff the project economically.
Contractors must only include in the bid pricing what has been explicitly specified as part of the project scope.
Errors and omissions in plans and specifications are completely ignored and submitted later in the process as cost overruns through change orders.
This typically drives the project cost higher than the low bid price. The owner holds the architect/contractor responsible for errors and omissions for not seeing plan deficiencies. Either way, the owner pays for the change orders.
The dynamics of this methodology undercut quality, time and costs. A better, more modern approach has been developed that changes the existing dynamics to save time and money and increase overall quality.
The Modern "Design-Build" Method
The design-build process allows for full execution of the "team concept". The owner and the design-build contractor work closely together to determine the scope of the project. Although this is similar to working with an architect first and then bidding, all similarities end quickly.
The design-build contractor works closely with key subcontractors from conceptual design through completion of the construction drawings and specifications.
Plans and specs are reviewed in detail to determine actual costs.
Continuous review of cost by the owner and design build contractor assures a project design that remains within budget.
Because the design-build contractor has to build what he designed and priced, and the subcontractors have been involved in the project from the beginning, change orders and cost overruns are reduced considerably.
Let's face it, the bid process only allows for a point or two difference in pricing between contractors, but in the design-build method, by considering the construction process during design (methods generally unknown to architects), savings of substantial value can be realized.
Finally, because the design-build method provides for single source accountability the owner and the design build team achieve the best project at the lowest possible cost.