General contractor provides piecemeal pricing to fast track projects
Construction DesignWorks, LLC recently worked on three commercial construction projects that are great examples of the advantages of design-build construction compared to the typical design-bid-build (DBB) delivery method. The projects included us as a general contractor (GC) and were in the restaurant renovations/hospitality sector. All of the projects had very tight budgets. These projects involved competent and creative architects and professional engineers. However, in order to keep costs in check, we needed to limit the hours of these design professionals.
As a GC specializing in design-build, we have developed a vast number of vendor contacts from mechanical contractors, electricians, and flooring installers to tile suppliers and beyond. This allows us to consult directly with these vendors, providing value-added services and options for the design, without involving the design professional every single step of the way, all the while being able to fast-track the project after gathering enough information to commence construction.
Time and money are the crucial advantages of design-build construction
Two of these projects were breweries and the other a restaurant. In all of these cases, we immediately obtained pricing for the demolition, new electric service, sub-grade plumbing and framing. We all understood that these particular items were essential and needed to be done regardless of the final details of the project.
We provided piecemeal-type pricing for each of these scopes of work for approval and then provided the service, accelerating the schedule. The remaining scopes of work such as the mechanical system, quantities and types of electrical devices and light fixtures, flooring selections, and wall colors, were all finalized and pricing firmed up.
A new ground-up project we were involved with also required an expedited schedule. Like the other projects above, the overall building design was not complete. We as a design-build general contractor assisted in finalizing the overall job site layout, location of the building, footings, and foundation design, as well as locations and sizes of major utilities. Utilities included electrical power, domestic water, fire protection line, natural gas, and sanitary and storm sewer. We procured all of these services ahead of the overall final project design. This process reduced the overall construction schedule and saved money for the owner.
While piecemeal pricing and phasing the design, development, and construction of a project is not the preferred process, it does offer owners the ability to release the leading parts of the construction project early. This allows the design team and owners to concentrate on the all-important guest experiences and finishes. There are definite advantages of design-build construction over the traditional DBB when the primary contract is direct with the GC. This allows the GC the flexibility to work independently of the architects and engineers to investigate different products and methods to get the greatest value out of the design, ultimately benefitting the owner.