Project Delivery is the method chosen for the design and construction of your building project. There are over a dozen project delivery methods in common use, and more to come with the advent of true BIM. Fortunately all the methods fall into two main categories - design-bid-build and fast track. All the other variations amount to different contracting methods for providing one of these two styles of project delivery. It is important to resolve the Project Delivery Method early in the process, because you cannot easily change methods because of existing contracts, fees and relationships.
Design-Bid-Build is the most commonly used method of project delivery. As the name implies you first design the building, then you take bids and finally you build. This is a logical and practical way to approach construction. Things can go wrong, but generally you have control over the cost and quality of the project. Trying to control the schedule, too, is an imperfect proposition.
Fast-Track is distinguished from Design-Bid-Build by starting construction before the project is completely designed and bid. In fact the only reason to use Fast-Track is an overwhelming need to complete the project as soon as possible, or at least sooner than it appears that it will otherwise be completed. Fast-Track holds out the promise of being faster, and it usually is. It is generally harder to control cost and quality because they both are often compromised in the interest of quickness.
Briefly the Contract Methods that can be used are:
- Traditional - the Owner contracts separately with the Architect and the Contractor.
- Design/Build - the Owner contracts with an entity who provides both design and construction.
- Construction Management - the Owner contracts with a Construction Manager who may or may not provide design services, too. There are variations where the Construction Manager is either the constructor, at risk, or an advisor, similar in role to the architect.
- Hybrid methods that involve additional parties or parts of other methods.
In Part 2 we will look at these different forms of contracts that add complexity to Project Delivery.
Which category is the best? I am partial to Design-Bid-Build. (Surprised?) However, we have experienced just about every type of Project Delivery; and with the right contractor, construction manager or design/builder and with complete and competent design documents any method works well.