Construction Delivery Methods: Design-Build vs. Design-Bid-Build

There are many construction delivery methods available for developers to chose from. However, 2 methods stand out as being the most used amongst clients; the design-build method, and the design-bid-build method. 

These project delivery methods may seem similar because of their names, but there are major differences between them that developers should consider when they are planning their projects. At DESCCO, we want to help you make the most of your construction needs. What is the difference between these methods, and which one is right for you? Keep reading to learn all about design-build vs design-bid-build.


The design-bid-build method has been the traditional construction delivery method for developers in the past. This method is usually used for public projects and those who are looking to keep costs low. The main reasons for this lie in the design-bid-build layout; an architect or design firm completes 100% of the design documents, and the developer hires independent contractors who bid on the work to implement the design. 

This construction delivery method requires the developer to seek out individual contractors to work on the various parts of a design. Developers can keep costs low by hiring the lowest bidding contractors to work on their aspects of the project. The design-bid-build delivery method also gives the most control to the developer, who can pick and choose which people they want working on their project. 

The design-bid-build method, however, does come with some drawbacks. Each contractor is under no obligation to work with each other to complete a project, leading to miscommunication and pointed fingers when things go wrong. Because the designer is not involved in the construction process, they may not have certain ideas about material costs and product availability in mind. Also, when contractors bid on work, they only bid on what is explicitly documented in the design documents. These will lead to problems if things change down the line. The developer takes responsibility for 100% of these issues, leading to extra costs and wasted time on a project. 


On the other hand, the design-build method has become more popular among developers in recent years. This construction delivery method streamlines the process described in the design-bid-build method by removing the bidding process. There is no need for the developer to find separate contractors; instead, the developer works with a single contractor or company that designs and implements all aspects of the project. 

While this project delivery method simplifies the design and implementation process, there are aspects developers should consider. Costs can be higher since there is no option to select contractors with lower bids. There is less control on the developer’s end when it comes to services. Because design-build usually means “bundling” services, there is less flexibility. This delivery method requires a high level of trust between the developer and the design-build contractor. 

However, many pros to the design-build delivery method make this an attractive option to clients with projects. If you find a design-builder that you trust, there is way less risk to the developer. The stress of finding separate contractors and negotiating prices is off of the client. Because everyone involved in the project is working together, there are fewer chances for miscommunication and conflict. The design-build method keeps budgets consistent since the designer is involved with project implementation. Since the process is streamlined, projects are usually completed faster than those done by design-bid-build and are turn-key ready when everything is done. 

Let DESCCO BE Your Design-Build Contractor

At DESCCO, our main goal is to deliver an unmatched design and construction plan that meets your needs in a timely and cost-effective manner. We want to work with you to bring your vision to life. Our highly skilled team will provide you with the highest standards for your requested services. Contact us today to get your project started with Berks County’s number one choice in general contractors!