Construct Smarter Projects with Design-Build


Looking to expand your business, grow your employee base or update your current space? Numerous factors need to be considered before launching into a construction process. Not only does an owner need to determine a space that will meet business needs and be functional, but the owner also needs to vet out which type of construction process they would like to use. Deciding between design build, design bid build or construction management may be the initial kick off point to launch the construction process.

As a solution provider, Chief Construction can offer valuable assistance during this initial phase to guide an owner and stakeholders through the decision process and deliver results. With complex building needs and aggressive projects, a project delivery method that makes this possible is critical to creating a cohesive team and process.

One method that has proven to be effective at creating a successful, cohesive team environment that fosters smooth delivery, reduced risks and potential condensed schedules is the design-build method. Many owners choose to use this process to leverage strong communication flow and build a strong comprehension from the design phase to the construction phase. More so, many owners or agencies use this method to save time by having construction begin before the final design has been completed. Many projects are often more cost-effective when decisions can be implemented faster. A multi-disciplined project team works together to review the design for potential issues of cost, schedule and constructability. Specific strategies are developed to alleviate any ambiguities left in the design and any potential problems are identified, solved and averted before construction even begins.

Design Build Characteristics

Design build contracts are usually performed by the contractor, who is in charge of the design and is also responsible to build the project. The owner may prepare a request for qualification where sources are analyzed under fair competition based in certain criteria and weighed factors. This request for qualification includes the scope of work which encompasses the project overview, project deliverables, project scope, project schedule, financial schedules and legal requirements. During this phase, Chief Construction works very closely with the owners and stakeholders to define these areas and build a vision for the final design of the project. A Design build contract is typically the preferred contracting method under tight schedule circumstances, and it is intended to save time.

Using a design build contract designers and builders work hand-in-hand to produce construction drawings and a construction logical sequence is also analyzed. Having the designers and builders work hand-in-hand early in the process allows for the best opportunities to capture value by implementing the most sound design and construction solutions.

The design process is scheduled in phases, just as the builder is ready to start that particular phase. Early stage designs incorporate the expertise of a full team and can be adapted to put the project on a course for success. The entire job becomes an exercise in value engineering, with specialty trades and domain experts gaining the ability to offer value-added solutions on everything from energy efficiency to foundation construction and flooring materials. This process enables smarter projects and value add to the owners and stakeholders.

 Design Build Advantages

Design build contracting offers the following advantages:

  • Design Time is reduced

  • Construction Drawings are simplified

  • Value engineering alternatives are always up for discussion and analysis

  • Reduces construction calendar

  • Single point of contact minimizing communication channels

  • Change Orders are minimal

  • Fast Track Schedule

  • The Project could be customized to actual site conditions easily

  • Long lead items can be identified earlier 

  • It allows for the project to be repeated

Applying the Process

The design-build method paves the way for smarter construction and reduced cost. Chief Construction implemented the design-build process when designing and construction Tom Dinsdale Automotive in Grand Island, NE. Tom Dinsdale Automotive is one of the largest GM dealerships in the country in terms of square feet and the largest between Kansas City and Denver. Chief Construction provided the client with a single point of contact from design to construction services. The team’s structure and contract ensured seamless communication and efficient decision making through the entirety of the project. The 94,000 square foot project was meticulously laid out so the flow and progression of the sales process and any mechanical work or maintenance moved quickly and smoothly.

The 17 month project began in August of 2013 and the building was occupied in December of 2014. The Project Manager, worked with the owners from the very beginning to understand the vision and needed functionality of the facility. The architect, worked closely with the team to provide a variation of drawings to ensure that the vision was executed in a manner that best fit the plot of land and played into the functionality of business. Our design team not only worked under the guidelines of the local business, the city regulations, and best use of space, they also ensured that each detail was in accordance with the GM standards. Chief Construction’s Senior Project Manager, as well as the Field Operations Manager, were enveloped into the process as the design plans were in the final stages in order to start the planning process and to develop a schedule and timeline. The structural components of the building and the collateral used were unique to the GM standards, as well as for the overall construction and look of the building. The end design proved to be highly efficient for the business flow as well as provided added ease for customer transactions and functionality.

Working through the design-build method with Tom Dinsdale Automotive allowed the team numerous benefits. The team could move quickly as design changes were implemented or unforeseen issues arose with the site layout, ensuring that the schedule did not suffer do to drawing updates. As solutions were identified, innovative strategies were delivered that added value to the overall project.  Job site preparations were able to overlap latter sections of the design process for fast-track deliver; allowing for schedules to be more defined for material delivery and installation. This seamless coordination not only kept the project moving, but it also allowed the job site to be well controlled and maintained.

“Our team knew that Chief Construction had the experience and people to make this building possible. Chief Construction comes highly recommended from our team and we look forward to working with them on our next project."

-Tom Dinsdale

Overall, the design-build delivery method resulted in a faster, higher quality project to be delivered at the best price. This project, as well as numerous other design-build projects, have shown that owners typically have fewer costs, a more aggressive schedule and fewer issues through the construction process than with other methods.