Design and Build vs. Traditional Procurement

David Murray

by David Murray


Whether you are relocating or refurbishing, you’ll need someone to implement the design and construction of the overall project. Selecting the right method of procurement is key to final results, in order to match your organisation’s requirements. Before beginning your office fit out or refurbishment project, it is essential to gain clear understanding of the key differences between design and build and traditional procurement.

Design and Build vs. Traditional

What is the traditional procurement method?

The traditional course breaks down as design, bid and build. In this process, the project owner negotiates separately with an architect (or interior design) practice and construction contractor. Firstly, the project owner hires a design firm to deliver complete design documents. The company then requests bids from contractors to perform the work defined in the tender documents and awards the tender to the lowest bidder.

What is design and build?

Using this modern procurement method, the project owner hires a single company to perform both the design and construction under a single contract.

Selecting the right method for your project

The design and build route provides a high-quality finish with an efficient delivery. With continuously rising competition for space, we predict more and more companies will choose the design and build route for their office fit out or refurbishment.

Interestingly, sizeable, more specialist and complex projects would have only been an option for traditional procurement, where separate consultants and architectural consultancies are used. However, with advancements in design and build, it’s capable delivering the same specialist projects. At Oktra, we’re now working on more and more projects of 50,000-70,000 sq ft.

When deciding whether to take the design and build or traditional approach, it’s useful to evaluate the similarities and differences of each.

Comparison between design and build vs. traditional

Traditional Design & Build
Cost Construction costs initially unknown - cost certainty achieved later Construction cost realised and fixed from initial design phase
Control Owner retains control over design and construction Requires less owner expertise and resources
Time Design and construction are sequential, typically resulting in longer schedules Construction can overlap design completion reducing project schedule
Risk Client retains the risk of consultant/contractor non-performance Diminished risk and liability with single, unified team
Design Equivalent capabilities Equivalent capabilities
Communication Owner acts as arbiter for the design and construction issues that occur for each company Single point of contact throughout project
Quality Equivalent capabilities Equivalent capabilities
Value Value engineering occurs when contractor awarded Value engineering occurs at outset of project

Design and build vs. traditional procurement

Both methods of project delivery will have merit for different types of business and project requirements. Project owners who have the budget to manage and oversee the process might be more suited to the traditional approach, especially if they are willing to accept the risks of unforeseen costs and extended schedules.

However, the design and build approach is becoming increasingly popular in the UK market for building new workplaces and redesigning existing ones, namely due to its ability to consistently achieve:

● Greater cost certainty

● Single point of responsibility for project owners

● Bespoke design and high-quality results

● Greater opportunity for value engineering

● Faster delivery

In short, design and build lends itself well to roll-outs and standardisation, which may benefit landlords further and enable them to capitalise on a strong market. With a positive perception and increasing demands, design and build has positioned itself firmly on the office fit out and design map for small to large projects.

Have an office move or refurbishment project? Request a callback with our team to discuss your options.

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