Selecting the right method of procurement is essential 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.
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.
Using this modern procurement method, the project owner hires a single company to perform both the design and construction under a single contract.
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.
|Traditional||Design and 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|
|Flexibility||Very contractual with limited flexibility of client-side variations. Can add time to project, will change timelines and program, incurring greater costs||Agile and quick to amend client-side variations. Designs and costs produced simultaneous|
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.