Contractor Guide: Five Common Construction Delivery Methods

For company owners within the construction industry, there are a few asset delivery methods they can choose to use depending on the unique demands of a given project. Whatever they move forward with, it’s so important to ensure, prior to breaking ground, that their project reaches its ultimate goal; successful and efficient completion—planned, budgeted, managed and delivered in the most effective way possible.

As either a general contractor or a sub contractor, it’s favourable to understand the reasoning behind why an owner chooses one delivery method over another; whether it’s Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build, Construction Manager at Risk, or any other. When you understand this, you gain valuable insight into the owner’s priorities and how you can communicate your value more effectively as a general contractor.

So, let’s review five common delivery methods, along with some tips to give you an upperhand:

Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

The most popular and traditional of the building methods, DBB lays it out straight-up in its name—its process starts with the owner entering a contract with a design firm, then the project design is put up for bid with general contractors, and finally the contract is awarded to the winning contractor.

DBB is typically the lowest priced, construction delivery method, currently available on the market. It also allows owners more opportunity to provide input about building appearance and function because the designer works with them directly, same as the General Contractor.

With this ownership oversight in mind, here’s one piece of advice that many general contractors aren’t taking advantage of: always win bids with value, not on price. To learn how you can do this, check out our recent blog post where we talk selling value.

Design-Build

When it comes to construction management, it’s important gain oversight of how your assets are managed and reduce risk. Design-build offers owners a straightforward delivery method with minimized risk. In this model, design and construction are both handled by one firm.

What this offers is a single point of accountability for all services. For an owner, this typically leads to reduced costs and faster delivery, since everything is managed under one roof.

The main concern for construction professionals with the Design-Build method: does a contractor have the capabilities to reach their expectations? As a general contractor, you need to make it 100% clear you have the skillset and structures in place to lead up a project. Not only that, but a way to keep every step stress-free for owners with regular reports and updates. As a SiteMax user, there shouldn’t be any issues there.

Construction Manager at Risk (CMR)

When owners need a defined completion date and price right away, and aren’t able to wait until the design is complete to select the contractor, CMR might be the preferred project delivery method.

For CMR, a construction manager acts as a consultant to the owner during project design. They are selected earlier, ideally alongside the designer. Construction managers essentially operate in the same way as a general contractor would in DB, overseeing subcontractors and taking on increased responsibility, but without the direct responsibility of design delivery.

If you have strong management capabilities as a general contractor, there is room here to position yourself as a construction management service for owners looking to utilize CMR. Again, it’s about selling value and showing owners that you have the right processes in place; communicated in the way owners want to hear.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)

A more up-and-coming delivery method, the emphasis with IPD is to spread risk, responsibility and reward between all the stakeholders of a project—designer, contractors, etc. Really, it makes an emphasis on collaboration and draws more engagement from members of the team, leading to higher risk and reward.

If done right, IPD can be a powerful delivery method. But typically, it’s more expensive and time-consuming to implement.

Whether you’re a general contractor or a sub contractor, it’s key to emphasize your strong communication and collaboration capabilities—internally and alongside stakeholders.

Public-Private Partnership (P3)

For owners within the construction industry, a public-private partnership, or P3, is a contract between a governmental body and a private entity, with the goal of providing public benefit. P3 is well-suited for public infrastructure projects, and for government bodies, it transfers some risk away from taxpayers to the private sector.

For contractors, there typically isn’t a large difference compared to a more traditional model—where an owner selects a designer and contractor. But with more hands in the project, ensure you fully understand the contract ahead of you and that all your company’s logistics are properly in place.

Whatever the delivery method, SiteMax can give you an edge. Whether communicating your value, functionality, proper structures and real-time collaboration abilities to owners, showing that you’re utilizing up-to-date technology can only be an advantage.

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