In recent years, the use of design-build has grown significantly across various market sectors and geographies, especially in the transportation sector. A method of project delivery whereby the design and construction phases are combined into a single contract — and the designer and contractor work together from the beginning — design-build helps streamline projects by eradicating the need for multiple contracting efforts and promotes a culture of collaboration from the start.
Design-build differs from the traditional design-bid-build approach, whereby project owners outsource the design work to an architectural/ engineering firm on a negotiated-price basis and then contract out construction services on a low-bid basis. These and other project delivery systems may not only introduce inefficiencies during the contracting process but also miss some of the opportunities provided by design-build when implemented correctly, including increased utilization of innovative ideas from the private sector and an overall reduction in the design and construction cycle.
For these and other reasons, a project delivery method that was considered “radical” just 25 years ago today represents nearly half of America’s construction projects (and continues to grow). A recent FMI white paper provides a brief market overview of North America’s growing design-build market, explains why many owners are transitioning to this project delivery method, and provides practical recommendations for engineering and construction (E&C) firms to set themselves up for successful design-build projects.
Key statistics include:
- Design-build will comprise 44% of construction spending between 2018 and 2021. During this time, design-build construction spending will grow by 18% and reach over $320 billion.
- Geographically, the Mountain (6.3%), Pacific (6.1%) and South Atlantic (6.2%) census divisions will yield the highest design-build growth rates between 2018 and 2021.
- Experience with design-build was rated highest across all project delivery methods, with 76% reporting very good and excellent experiences.
- In addition to larger and more complex projects, design-build continues to expand into project sizes of less than $25 million, as owners continue to gain exposure to the benefits of the delivery method.