The Advantages of Design-Build: Cost, Time, and Long-Term Relationships

When it comes to construction projects, the traditional bid-and-build approach has long been the norm. However, there is a growing recognition of the benefits that the design-build process brings to the table. In a conversation between Greg and Conor, partners here at Oliver, they shed light on the advantages that this approach offers. From cost efficiency to accelerated timelines and the establishment of long-term relationships, design-build proves to be a compelling alternative. Let’s delve deeper into their insights.

Cost Efficiency and Open Book Bidding:

Greg emphasizes that the notion of design-build being more expensive is a misconception. In fact, studies have shown that construction costs can often be lower compared to traditional methods. With design-build, the entire project is managed by a single entity, eliminating the need for separate architects and general contractors. This streamlined approach allows for efficient decision-making and coordination, leading to potential cost savings. Not to mention, the use of open book bidding ensures transparency, as subcontractor bids are available to both the design-build firm and the client. This openness facilitates better budget management and maximizes cost-effectiveness.

Accelerated Timelines:

Conor points out that design-build offers a significant advantage in terms of project timelines. Unlike the bid-spec process, where construction cannot begin until the drawings are complete and multiple general contractors are selected, design-build allows for earlier commencement. Construction can start even before the drawings are finished, enabling a more efficient and timely execution. Conor shares an example where his design-build team completed a large manufacturing plant within a year, whereas the bid-spec process would have taken a year and a half or longer. This accelerated timeline means that clients can start generating revenues and profits sooner, providing a crucial competitive edge.


One of the standout benefits of design-build is the ability to tailor the project to the client’s exact specifications. Unlike bid-spec, where the design is often fixed before construction begins, design-build allows for ongoing collaboration and input from the client. As Greg highlights, having designers, estimators, engineers, project managers, and superintendents working together promotes a simpler and more integrated process. The client can make real-time adjustments and ensure their vision is fully realized, resulting in a project that meets their precise needs.

Establishing Long-Term Relationships:

At Oliver Construction, we strive to foster long-term relationships with our clients. In the design-build approach, the responsibility rests solely on us, incentivizing us to meticulously manage costs and schedules to maintain client satisfaction. By prioritizing these aspects, we cultivate lasting partnerships that can span decades, creating a foundation of trust and reliability.

The conversation between Greg and Conor highlights the advantages of the design-build approach in construction projects. From cost efficiency and open book bidding to accelerated timelines and customization, the benefits are clear. Design-build offers a streamlined and collaborative process that ensures clients get the project they want while maximizing cost-effectiveness and reducing construction time. Moreover, the emphasis on establishing long-term relationships underscores our dedication to delivering exceptional results. As the construction industry evolves, design-build stands out as a compelling alternative that brings efficiency, effectiveness, and client satisfaction to the forefront.