The traditional model for most construction projects is Design-Tender-Build. In this model, the client appoints an architect to design the building and prepare tender drawings and specifications. The builders then price the tender documents and the client appoints their chosen builder to carry out the building works. Throughout the construction phase, the architect and builder cooperate, or fight, to get their jobs done. This can become a very fraught process, where architect, builder and client can’t wait until the day the project is completed and they never have to speak to each other again.
An alternative model is Design-Build, where the architect and builder are part of the same company and handle the entire process. Design-Build companies can be construction companies that have in-house architects or Architect-Led Design-Build (ALDB) companies, who design the building and subsequently manage the construction trades on site.
Keeping the whole process in-house means that “buildability” can be part of the design process from day one and all of the consultants and subcontractors are led by one firm and have one place to go for answers. The result should be a cheaper and better building and a happier team overall.