Design-Build vs Traditional: Which Project Delivery Method Is Best?

As trends come and go, so too have office spaces evolved. With a variety of styles to choose from, businesses are taking advantage of this diversity in order to project their company values.

Some businesses offices are testimonials to transparency, while others emphasize their commitment to collaboration with expansive, open designs. 

And, as office appearances change, so too has the method to construct them. Around a decade ago, a new way of constructing and designing arrived on the scene. 

In a nutshell, the “design-build” project delivery method is an all-in-one process in which everything is done under a single roof. It differs from the traditional build method by consolidating the separate stages of “design-bid-build,’ thereby making it simpler and more streamlined.

The question remains: Which delivery method is best for you? To figure this out, here’s a breakdown of differences between the traditional method and the design-build method.


Traditional Build Method


Creating a new office space (or any building) requires a wide variety of specialized tradespeople to do different tasks at different stages. This traditional method is commonly called the “design-bid-build” process because it accurately describes its different stages of development.

First, the owner would request bids from separate architectural firms for an office design. Once a bid is accepted, the next phase would be to request bids from construction contractors; these contractors would then provide a price based upon the winning architectural bid. When their bid is accepted, the winning contractors will then hire tradespeople to perform their work on the office, ultimately leading to the completion of the project.

The variety of people that work on a single project can’t be understated. They include:

  • General contractor (in charge of all operations)
  • Subcontractors
  • Mechanical, electrical and plumbing services and design
  • Architects
  • Civil engineers
  • Landscape designers
  • Interior designers

As a complicated process with many moving parts, complications often arise. Miscommunication or delays can cause a ripple effect for successive stages, thereby causing even more delays. What’s more, any tradesman working on a product can only do as good of a job as allowed by the general contractor (GC); this is noteworthy as the GC isn’t beholden to anything except delivering a finished product that meets the owner’s schedule and budget.

Flaws will undoubtedly populate the bid system; after all, it rewards winning contracts to those willing to do it for the least amount of money. To that end, there happens to be another way of creating offices, one that calls for a more harmonious and balanced approach.


Design-Build Method


The design-build method is a consolidation of all the disparate elements of the traditional method within a single entity. It simplifies the process so that the owner only needs to consult with one agency. It avoids the bid process. And, it allows the purity of the original architectural design to remain intact without introducing undue competition.

Commonly referred to as AEC (architectural, engineering and construction), this design-build firm is able to respond to the clients directly—and without filter. 

There are a number of advantages to the design-build method:

  • Cut down on project management costs by keeping everything in-house
  • Provide higher quality results that stay true to the original vision  
  • Mitigate losses by accepting full responsibility, ensuring the project stays on schedule and avoids excess costs
  • Consists of a group of skilled workers familiar with working with each other

As such, the design-build method offers specific advantages that the traditional build method can’t offer. To create a modern office, it makes sense to go with a modern method. Avoid the traditional problems that have been plaguing this market by choosing a design-build project delivery method.

Are you looking to create a new office space? Do you want an environment that inspires your workers and encourages trust in your clients? 

Sensyst is a one-stop design-build provider that creates unique spaces for unique clients. We plan, design, build and furnish office spaces that you’ll love. By planning efficiently, we are able to ensure the quality, budget and timeliness for all our clients. We capture the vision of each client and make their ideal commercial interior office space a reality.

Contact us to let us know how we can create the office of your dreams!