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Design-Bid-Build vs. Design-Build

1/21/2019 (Permalink)

There is a common theory that the building process is all about construction work.

Do you also believe in this myth? Are you unaware of the complete process involved in the development of a building or any other structure?

If yes, then this blog will enlighten you about the two processes of building any structure — Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build. 


Design-bid-build (DBB) involves 3 major steps. The first one is “design”, where the design team produces a wide array of designs based on the owner’s requirements. The lead architect or the designer along with their team develops a set of bid documents, which include drawings and specifications. These documents form the basis of a competitive bidding process. Various contractors develop their proposals according to the scope of work, and usually, the bidder with the lowest quoted price wins the bid. 

This process has its own advantages and disadvantages:


  • You will know the price beforehand, which will reduce the risk associated with the construction process.
  • You will enjoy the benefits of a low construction cost because contractors tend to lower their prices to win the bid.
  • Lack of collaboration between the design and construction team causes disputes.


  • DBB is a lengthy process because you can’t start the bidding or construction phase until the design is finalized.
  • You might neglect the contractor’s qualifications because low cost is a priority in this process.
  • You will not be able to implement value engineering.
  • Since this process doesn’t involve contractor and designer communication during the design phase, change orders are a common occurrence.


Design-build (DB) involves only one contract. Here you will hire a single contractor who will look after the design and the construction process. This contractor has the choice to either complete the whole project themselves or to subcontract it to other contractors or designers.

Like DBB, this process also has some advantages and disadvantages:


  • Since one entity is both the designer and the constructor, there are very few disputes and work progresses smoothly.
  • You can decrease the cost and time of the project by implementing value engineering.
  • It is a less time-consuming process as the construction phase can start during the design phase.


  • Compared to DBB, it is costly
  • Since builder and designer both belong to the same entity or firm, they tend to hide each other’s mistakes.