One of the major items often miss understood on a construction project is the delivery method. Traditional project delivery methods include design-bid-build, design-build and Construction Management.
Historically the design-bid-build process has been the most common project delivery method for large scale commercial projects. Under this delivery method, the owner would hold separate contracts between the design professionals and the construction team. This type of delivery method is most common amongst publicly funded projects. The design team (including traditional building architects, landscape architects, MEP engineers, structural engineers and aquatic design professionals) works directly for the owner to develop a set of construction documents. These documents are then used to create a competitive bidding environment between multiple vendors, manufacturers, and suppliers.
The teaming circumstances between the design professionals and the installing contractor are different under the design-build scenario. Under this delivery method, the design-build team is led by the building contractor. The design professionals are then contracted thru the building contractor, thus providing the owner with a single point of contact for both the project design and construction.
In design-build, the contractor would traditionally work with the owner on the development of a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) based upon partially developed plans. Design-build can, under certain circumstances, provide opportunities to expedite the overall project schedule. The owner should request that GMP drawings be as complete as possible and participate in the development of the GMP package so as to minimize surprises with the pool and any support buildings. While initial construction costs can at times be reduced through a design-build process, the owner must be wary of cost cutting measures that can decrease the life span of the facility and at the same time increase yearly operational cost. (Both of which are bad for the owner of the facility).
In the Construction Management project delivery method, the owner would typically hold separate contracts with the construction manager, the design professional, and in some cases, the installing contractors. Construction management can either be performed “at-risk” or “not-at-risk”. When not-at-risk, the construction management agency (CM) typically becomes the owner’s representative by managing the project from the back end of design through construction. In this scenario the CM does not directly hold a contract with any specific contractor. When at-risk, the CM typically commits to a GMP prior to the start of construction and acts as not only the owner’s representative, but somewhat equivalent to a general contractor during construction. If the owner does not possess the knowledge and experience in construction projects, then inclusion of a CM in some fashion can benefit the overall process for the entire team.
Once you have chosen your preferred project delivery method it is time to think about the process for selection of your design and/or construction professionals. Several tools are available to assist owners use when determining the best team to help create the desired facility. These tools include Letters of Interest, Requests for Qualifications (RFQ), Requests for Proposals (RFP), and the Interview process. These tools can help determine the proper team who will create and manage the project from start to finish.