Common Challenges of the Design-Build Project Delivery Approach and How to Overcome Them


From minimizing costs and claims to reducing the construction time, the design-build (DB) project delivery approach is the current big trend in the construction industry.  If you want to let go of the stress of sharing your project between architects and contractors, design-build has got you covered.  Unfortunately, contractors and architects are yet to reap the maximum benefits of design-build.  This is partly because of certain challenges that they face in DB projects.  Follow through as we unveil some of these challenges and their solutions.

  1. Absence Of Effective Collaboration

Contract management is one of the biggest challenges in many design-build projects.  Ideally, this delivery method heavily relies on the collaboration of every participant to ensure effective results.  Unfortunately, contract management is sometimes unwilling to embrace collaboration for their personal reasons.

Solution: Every team member should be trained to foster an integrated, collaborative environment.

  1. Incompetent Team

One of the advantages of a design-build project approach is that the project owner can select the very best manager to oversee the project to its completion.  However, building a strong cohesive team is easier said than done.  Everyone from the top management down to the bottom teams should be very competent.  When you hire the wrong people, you will soon experience trouble.

Solution: The person in charge should put effort and time into selecting every single worker for the team.

  1. Trust Issues Between The Owner And The Contractor

Although many owners love the design-build approach because it involves dealing with one person in charge of the project, some have issues trusting them.  Often, these owners lack the comfort and security that the contractor or engineer can really handle the task.  So even if they have the contractor working for them, the owner will want to micromanage the project too much.  On the opposite side of the spectrum, some architects or contractors do not communicate everything to their bosses, making them feel left out.  Both of these scenarios can cause mistrust between the project owner and the contractor.

Solution: Communicate mutual expectations from either party before signing any contract.

  1. Unclear Expectations Within The Team

It is one thing for contract management to articulate the vision of the project.  It is another for team members to know exactly what is expected of them.  The team should understand their contribution to the greater good of the project.  They should be flexible, available, and knowledgeable and discover what they should do always.

Solution: Clearly explain the scope of work of every team member.

  1. Legal issues

The last challenge affecting the design-build project delivery approach is the myriad issues that are not solved or tested.  Some of them include the following:

  • Contract relationship between the parties
  • Performance warranties
  • Licensing laws
  • Competitive bidding laws
  • Entitlement to change of orders

Although there have been great strides towards design-build services, these legal issues need to be dealt with.  As the number of DB projects goes up, there is hope that the future will be different.

Solution: Get legal experts to help you sort out the legal issues.

Although the design-build project delivery approach comes with a number of advantages, it also presents some challenges for the contract manager.  Luckily, there are solutions to these challenges as explained in this guide.

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