Design-Bid-Build vs. Design-Build

CF Jones Construction is a leader in today’s cost-conscious construction industry. Construction trends tend to weigh heavily on design, but what is the difference between design-bid-build and design-build? It is broken down best this way:

The design-bid-build method is very commonly found in industries such as heavy residential, commercial, and industrial.  This method calls for a set of plans drawn out by an architect that comes with a set of specifications for the building.  This set of specifications is where every single detail of the building is specifically listed, from what kind of color flooring consumers want in their building to what color and brand of hardware they prefer on the doors.  This means that the owner is the sole design-maker on almost every single detail of the building before any project is started.   At that point, the owner receives contractual bids from multiple contractors for the amount they think they can build the project.  Once the project is complete, the owner must pay the contractor the bid amount, whether the job is less or more expensive than the bid price. This method is very effective for large areas where detail and quality are not the prime areas of interest and cost is the biggest concern.  Once an owner signs a contract for a design-bid-build project, changes can be made later in the project cycle through change orders, however, they will be much more costly for the owner. 


There are four stages of the design-build process, as illustrated above, and explained below.


The Concept Stage

There are key factors driving a project including budget, time restraints, risk, and level of quality to get consumers to a well-defined scope of work.  CJ Jones Construction works hard to develop a successful plan that addresses the primary goals of its consumer. We believe in always putting the client at the center of the project—which incorporates the best balance of cost, function, efficiency, maintainability, and delivery for that particular project.


The Design Stage

During the initial stages of the design process, the architect(s) and project manager(s) have several client meetings in order to determine the purpose and objective of the proposed construction. The primary activities for the project, as well as the relationships between spaces, are reviewed. Consideration is also given to how well the completed project relates to adjacent buildings (if any) and its surroundings. The preliminary programming produces a list of solutions, alternatives, feasibility studies and costs estimates. After a review of the programming statement, schematic plans are prepared.

Schematics:   Schematic plans are the first plans of a project and show the interrelationship between spaces and activities. All team members (architects, project managers, and the client) review the schematic plans and make recommendations, as necessary. Any changes are then incorporated into the final schematic plans. Revised schematic plans are also known as “preliminary plans,” and provide a graphic view of the project, the refined details of how the project will look, and the relationship of all spaces.  At this stage, a preliminary budget can be drafted to validate the project scope as outlined in the owner’s budget.

Once the preliminary planning phase is complete, the project then enters a stage involving the preparation of permit/construction drawings.  Final estimate from CF Jones on the construction of the project is based on the full scope of the project from the permit/construction drawings.


The Permit/Construction Drawings Stage

Most importantly, the drawings illustrate the appearance, layout, equipment, and amenities of the project. These drawings show the architect’s plan/design for the building’s overall appearance, such as finish materials, floor plans, sizes, and use of each building area. Other numerous drawing plans are involved in this stage of the construction project, including:

Architectural Plans: The architectural plans indicate the layout of the project, such as floor plans, elevations, and details of the construction and architectural finishes. A civil engineer may be brought in and this stage and is responsible for the proper drainage of a site, as well as the design of land improvements, such as paving, curb and gutter design, retaining walls, and drainage culverts.

Structural Plans: The structural plans are prepared by structural engineers and show the structural design of a building. These plans incorporate foundation planning with considerations for rain, snow, wind, earthquakes, and other natural phenomena.

Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Plans (MEP): Mechanical, electrical and plumbing plans are prepared by a MEP engineer to show the design of the various systems in the building. These systems must be designed to incorporate the proper air conditioning, heating, and ventilation equipment, as well as adequate plumbing, to meet the needs of all of the building’s designated activities. Electrical plans show the electrical distribution system for the efficient distribution of power in a building. The plan design includes the distribution of electrical power from the utility company and the distribution to power-specific equipment.


The Construction Stage

The fourth stage is the Construction Stage, or otherwise called fieldwork, and is the actual construction of the project. Fieldwork is broken down into building permits, subcontractors, scheduling subcontractors, shop drawings and change orders.

Building Permits:   Before construction can begin, the appropriate municipality must issue a building permit. Specifications and blueprints must be provided to the municipality’s building department, along with the application for a permit. The period of time for a permit to be approved can be lengthy, especially in the case of new construction.  In most cases, a permit is issued within a few months. The cost of the permit and any related studies may be the responsibility of either the owner or the general contractor.

Subcontractors:  Subcontractors, which include plumbers, electricians, framers, and concrete workers, work hand-in-hand with CF Jones Construction’s Project Managers and Superintendents on-site to fulfill the customer’s every need.

Shop Drawings:  Working drawings only include enough detail to show the overall layout of the building. Shop drawings detail the specific building components and are usually produced after the final design phase but before the beginning of the construction phase.

Change Orders: Change orders are the written contract revisions that increase or decrease the total contract price. Change order documents contain the change order number, change order date, a description of the change, and the amount of the change order. Contractors, based on the terms of the contract, may also issue orders.

At CF Jones Construction, we can ease the stress of the traditional design-bid-build process by saving consumers time, money and reducing risk when it comes to commercial construction projects. As a design-build contractor, CF Jones serves as your advisor and consultant through both the design process and in providing construction management services throughout the project. We are CF Jones. Let us work for you.

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