Design-Build is Good, Architect-led Design-Build is Better!


What’s the difference between the more traditional project delivery methods? Many of our architectural clients struggle with understanding the nuances and advantages between the Design-Build method of project delivery versus the traditional Design-Bid-Build method, and the advantages Design-Build offers over Design-Bid-Build.


In Design-Bid-Build, the Owner hires an Architect who designs the project. Once completed, the project is bid out amongst several different General Contractors. The Owner selects one of the General Contractors (usually the cheapest price) to build the project. Often, the Architect is involved during construction as an Owner’s representative, and impartial design professional to make sure the project is constructed properly, as specified, and of the quality intended.

“The only contractor that wins the bid is the one that made a mistake. That bidder will then spend the rest of the project trying to make that money back.” – Former Mentor

A 3-party contractual arrangement exists that can result in disputes that can only be settled by a 4th party. Finger pointing galore!


In Design-Build, the Owner contracts directly with the “Design-Builder” who provides Design and Construction under one single-source contract. The Owner and the Design-Builder agree on a budget upfront, design to the budget (which is adjusted, if necessary), finalize the price when the drawings are completed, and then provide a turn-key construction project with only a single entity for the Owner to turn to if issues arise.

Both of these options are tried and true! In Design-Bid-Build, the Owner is assured of paying the demonstrated lowest price. In Design-Build, there are competitive pricing from subcontractors, but clients may choose this method for its speed and convenience. We have done many projects with many general contractors using both methods successfully!

But, the method we like the BEST is ARCHITECT-LED DESIGN-BUILD!

Architect-Led Design-Build

In this method, the Client hires a Design-Builder that is also an Architect! Under this arrangement, you get all of the advantages of the Design-Build process PLUS the advantage of having the Architect intimately involved with every aspect of the project, from inception to completion. The one you have built the relationship and trust with throughout the design phase is the one that will help guide you thru the construction phase!

We prepared a guide to help explain this a bit further…10 Advantages of Architect-Led Design-Build

10 Advantages of Architect-Led Design-Build:  Click HERE.

In this informative downloadable PDF guide, you’ll discover:

  • How Design-Build compares to the more contentious Design-Bid-Build
  • Why we believe Architect-Led Design-Build is the best of them all
  • and much more!

We hope you enjoy this guide and look forward to your feedback on the contents.


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