Why Choose the Design Build Delivery Approach?.
When working with a trusted contractor, the design build approach will save time, money and produce a finished product tailored to meet the client’s needs.
There is an idea that it money can be saved by having a project completely designed and then getting competitive bids from installing contractors. On the surface this seems to make sense. But in most cases, it doesn’t work, for several reasons. We have found that the best approach is to have trusted contractors bid competitively prior to the design. This is usually based on criteria developed by the owner or by each bidding design build contractor which the owner will evaluate, but is well defined within a proposal so that the owner can be confident they are getting a complete scope. We find this model will save money because:
- Contractors can get competitive pricing on major equipment prior to making equipment selections.
- On the contrary, on design- bid- build projects, equipment selections are made without pricing locked in. Many times, projects are put out to bid with equipment and controls vendors solely specified, with no competition. This is a worst case scenario which gives the installing contractor no leverage to force competitive pricing scenarios. Even when alternates are named in the specifications, the equipment vendors that are named as basis of design usually have something written into the spec that makes their product different than the others which can prevent other manufactures from bidding, even if the differences are irrelevant to the project.
- As a design build contractor, we also rely on our vendors and equipment manufactures for helping with selections and finding the right product for each application, just as consultants do. The difference is, that with the design build approach, we will get competitive pricing in advance of making the final equipment selection.
- With this approach, the designer / contractor is held responsible for maintaining the project budget. We are very aware of the cost of every element of the design and can eliminate design elements that increase cost without bringing value to the project.
- A design build contractor is ultimately responsible for making the design work per the project criteria. We are not obligated to only install the project as designed. Our obligation is to provide a system completed to the satisfaction of our happy customers. Since we are responsible for the design, we are also responsible for any added costs if the design falls short of expectations.
- On the contrary, with a design – bid – build project, if design elements are omitted that affect the performance of the design, RFI’s are typically generated that result in changes to the work. These changes typically lead to increased costs. We have found that most consulting engineers try to prevent this from happening by including design elements that may not be necessary. In fairness, at the time of design, consultants do not know which contractor will be installing the project. The qualifications of contractors can vary greatly. Therefore, consultants should be a more conservative and less aggressive in their design approach. This protects themselves and the owners from a poorly working system. But, also results in increased costs.
- Coordination begins at the design level, not after permits are issued.
- There is no need to recreate drawings for construction (shop drawings) from scratch.
- There is no need to submit RFI’s to determine the designers intent.
- Design build contractors have the ability to make design related decisions “on the fly” which helps to keep projects moving in the right direction. This is especially advantageous for equipment retrofits and building renovations.
Meeting the Client's Needs
Why Choose Us as your Design Build Contractor?.
The key to a successful design build project, is enlisting design build contractors that are trusted and have the owner’s best interest at heart. At Western Allied, we take great pride in the relationships that we have built with numerous owners, developers and general contractors. In fact, almost all of our business is from repeat clients.
Western Allied has a fully staffed, in-house engineering department, ready to take on projects of almost any type. Our experiences in design build work include; pharmaceutical, television and movie studio and entertainment, hospitality, aerospace, healthcare, industrial and office buildings.
In addition to our in-house engineering department, Western Allied’s project management team is comprised mostly of degreed engineers, many of which are licensed professional engineers. Our goal is to provide excellent engineering judgment and quality control throughout the duration of each of our projects and beyond.