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What is Design-Build? 

The traditional (design-bid-build) approach to building can leave you to make important decisions on your own. You are responsible for finding an architect to draw your project and a contractor to build it. Then, you must ensure that they communicate and work together within your budget and vision.

Design-Build is different - it's a one-stop-shop for all your design and construction needs. You have one contract that adheres to your budget along with a group of our trustworthy, seasoned professionals to help you with any and all decisions or challenges along the way. Just step back, and watch your vision come to life.

How will a Design-Builder Help Me?

Designing and building a church can be a complicated and scary process, but it doesn't have to be. A design-builder will work with you to build your facility around your vision. In a guaranteed lump sum contract, the design-builder guarantees to deliver the project at the specified price. They will look over drawings and plans throughout the entire process to make sure there are no mistakes in the building and that everything falls within your budget. In a traditional building process, you would be left to determine these things without the guidance of trained professionals.

What is the difference between Traditional and Design-Build? What are the Pros and Cons?

Traditional Design-Bid-Build: Pros

  • Process well understood by owners, architects, and contractors
  • Allows for competitive bidding among both subcontractors and general contractors
  • Provides the lowest price for a given set of documents

Traditional Design-Bid-Build: Cons

  • Allows no input from contractors during the design phase
  • May not provide the best "value" to the owner
  • Often bids come in over budget due to change orders
  • Takes more time for a thorough bidding phase
  • Difficult to identify long lead items which can lead to scheduling delays
  • Makes 'fast track' construction difficult if not impossible
  • Can lead to an adversarial relationship between the design team and the contractor

Design-Build Pros

  • Design-builder is single source of responsibility
  • Owner will determine the design and cost at an early stage
  • Design team working together with builder can provide most creative solution to any problem
  • Takes less time from inception of the project through completion since bidding phase is reduced and major design revisions are made early rather than later
  • Designer and builder are on same team eliminating adversarial relationships
  • "Fast Track" construction is facilitated
  • Allows for early and frequent input by contractor regarding budget
  • Can identify long lead items early to avoid scheduling delays

Design-Build Cons

  • Does not guarantee lowest cost based upon a given set of documents
  • Process not well understood by owner, architects and subcontractors
  • Perception by owner that there are no "checks and balances"

Here's what we hear from churches:

Our architects designed something we can't afford to build.
We came in way over budget due to change orders.
The architect says it's the builders fault and the builder says it's the architect's fault.

Design-Build meets these issues head on.
(aka Design-Build)
© 2011 National Association of Church Design Builders • 1000 Ballpark Way • Suite 306 • Arlington, Texas 76011
Phone: 817.200.2622 • Toll Free: 844.888.2622 • Fax: 817.275.4519​