Design and Build: The Path to More Efficient and Sustainable Construction

In the world of construction, there is an innovative and efficient approach known as Design and Build that combines the project and construction phases into an integrated process, offering numerous benefits in terms of speed, quality, and cost control.

In this article, we will explore in detail what Design & Build is and why Woodea embraces it as part of our working methodology.

What is Design and Build in Construction?

Design & Build is a methodology that aims to optimize construction projects’ execution and improve their quality by integrating design and construction from the early stages of the project.

In the Design and Build methodology, unlike the traditional approach, the contractor takes on both the design and construction as a complete package. They are involved from the design phase, collaborating on proposing technical and economic solutions and taking responsibility for their execution. This contrasts with the conventional approach where design is done separately and imposed on the builder, making it challenging for them to assume responsibility in case of deficiencies in the project.

Design-Build vs Design-Bid-Build

In the traditional approach, **Design-Bid-Build (DBB)**, the design is developed separately and, after going through a bidding phase, is handed over to the selected contractor for construction. In this case, the project is carried out without knowing who will execute it, and decisions and solutions are imposed on the contractor. In some cases, even how some of these solutions will be implemented is unknown until the construction process begins.

This work scheme, where the project is divided among entities with separate contracts and responsibilities, often generates communication problems, delays, and conflicts among the different teams involved. One of the most common issues is that, after completing the initial design phase or preliminary design, when it’s time to evaluate the project economically, the developer finds higher costs than expected, potentially questioning its profitability. Changes in design, construction systems, components, or materials may be necessary.

Another classic example is the emergence of necessary items not included in the initial project, leading to the dreaded contract variations. The contractor cannot address the project’s deficiencies without a thorough study, which involves significant and untimely work. If any changes or improvements are needed, the hours spent on architectural studies and project development are wasted.

On the other hand, Design-Build (DB) encourages the simultaneous development of design and construction analysis, allowing for greater efficiency and better overall project control.

Advantages of Design and Build

As seen in the previous section, Design & Build offers several significant advantages compared to the traditional approach. Below are some of them:

1. Greater Efficiency and Speed of Delivery

By integrating design and construction, Design and Build allows for a faster project execution. Design and construction teams work together, facilitating early problem resolution and avoiding unnecessary delays, resulting in a quicker project completion and on-time delivery.

2. Greater Responsibility and Risk Reduction

In Design and Build, the contractor assumes more responsibility throughout the process. This includes design, coordination of different stages, and construction execution. With a single point of contact, the risk of misunderstandings is reduced, and overall project coordination is improved.

3. Better Cost and Budget Control

Design and Build enable better cost estimation from the early project stages. By working together, design and construction teams can identify and address potential cost issues, avoiding the emergence of variations before they become significant obstacles. This results in better expense control and greater financial efficiency.

4. Higher Quality and Customer Satisfaction

With close integration between design and construction, Design and Build achieves higher project quality. Teams can collaborate to optimize the design based on construction requirements and vice versa, translating into a higher-quality end product and increased customer satisfaction.

5. Reduction of Conflicts and Claims

Early and continuous collaboration in Design and Build helps prevent future conflicts and claims. By addressing challenges and solving problems as they arise, disputes are avoided, fostering a more harmonious and collaborative work environment.

Woodea and Design and Build

From the beginning of Woodea, it was clear to us that to make a true value contribution to projects and respond to the requirements imposed by the climate emergency, we have to immerse ourselves fully. This allows us to have a real influence on the development of each project, transforming from being a mere consultant to becoming the project’s ultimate responsible party.

In each project, we study the relationship with the developer and assess whether their business model fits with the Design & Build approach and our way of approaching low environmental impact architecture and construction projects. These processes often differ from conventional norms.

A sustainable and affordable low-carbon footprint project needs to be addressed from the initial design. Wood technology has its requirements, just as concrete technology does, and transforming a project designed in the traditional way into a low-carbon footprint project after completing the design is complex.

By integrating design and construction from the beginning, we promote collaboration and ensure efficient resource management, providing high-quality architectural solutions that align with our clients’ needs and goals.

At Woodea, we embrace the Design & Build methodology as part of our commitment to sustainability, efficiency, quality, and cost control in projects.

This new approach allows us to be fully involved in each project, make agile and effective decisions, and generate sustainable long-term value.