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Church Specifics ::  Project Delivery Methods


For the owner to have a successfully completed building project, he or she must assemble, direct, manage and compensate a complete project team.  The contractual relationships of these team participants are what establishes the Project Delivery Method.

The three following Project Delivery Methods are most commonly used.  The owner should select the one that best suits the project size, the project schedule, the owner’s purchasing style and past experience with building projects and their complexity, specialization or difficulty.

Design-Bid-Construct Method

This method, because of its formality, is most commonly used in publicly financed projects and in very large projects.  It is characterized by two different contractual relationships and four distinct time periods.  The owner enters into one contract with a responsible design professional who will then prepare the contract documents.  After that process is completed the owner will seek bids from several contractors and then enter into a second contract with one of them to construct the project.  The work is then performed under the supervision of the responsible design professional.  The four time periods are as follows:

  • The design professional is selected by the owner by obtaining and reviewing competitive proposals culminating in the award of a design contract.
  • The project is designed through a series of progressively more detailed phases, referred to as the schematic design phase, design development phase and construction development phase.
  • The design professional takes the project through the bid phase and assists the owner in selecting a contractor.
  • The project is constructed by the contractor who is the successful bidder.

The formality of the relationships in this method and the aggressiveness of the bidding environment tend to inhibit the spirit of teamwork that can be so beneficial to a project.  It also can result in a longer time to project completion and more cost than the other two methods.


Project-Team or PM-Project Management Method

This method has the same relationship as the Design-Bid-Construct Method described previously, but it differs in the method of selecting the contractor.

In the Project-Team Method the contractor is known to the owner and is selected based on reputation without competitive bidding or pre-qualified by the architect as to their performance on similar type projects; (i.e. remodeling, restoration, new construction, etc.).  The owner and the contractor may form their agreement by using a cost-plus-fee basis of payment or by negotiating a lump sum which is based on the contractor’s cost plus markup.

This approach brings the key players together on the team before design begins.  It allows the contractor to contribute knowledge of construction technology and costs during the design phase, which enhances the design professional’s ability to produce a successful design in a shorter period of time.  It also saves much of the time that would have been spent on the preparation and assembly of documents required for the bid phase.  This process also allows the architect to extend his basic services and undertake the effective role as the Project Manager-PM; to manage the time, cost and quality of the construction process during program design, bid/award, construction and post-construction phases.

Design/Build Method

With this method, the owner forms a contractual relationship with one company who then, in turn, either provides the design and contracting services with its own employees or subcontracts them to others.  The Design/Build Firm may also act as a developer if the owner needs assistance in obtaining land and/or financing.

This method optimizes the owner’s control of the project by minimizing his project management effort.  The owner has one company to deal with – the Design/Build  process and success can be measured by conformance to a budget and a fast track, or phased type project time schedule; saving the owner time and money.  Time is important in controlling costs….without compromising quality.  It is important to note that minimum cost is value, not cheapness.  It takes a delicate balance to provide a building or component; which has all forms of value maximized.

Best results can be achieved by performing the project in two phases.  Phase I is the preliminary design and budgeting phase wherein sufficient design, drawings and outline specifications are prepared to “fix and describe the size, quality and character of the entire project,” as well as propose the contract lump sum and a schedule for the work.

Phase II is the final design and construction phase where the final design is completed, including working drawings and specifications, permits are obtained and construction is completed to provide a finished product for the owner.

In selecting his Design/Build Firm, the owner may negotiate using the cost-plus-fee basis of payment.  Or a lump sum based on the cost plus markup.

If the owner requires competition in selecting a Design/Build Firm, the owner may select a small group of qualified competitors and seek proposals based on project requirements.  The successful proposal should be selected based on its overall fulfillment of the owner’s requirements, not just on the price quoted.  Because of the creative effort required by each proposer in this type of design competition, each of the competitors should receive a stipend.
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