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Commercial Construction Project Delivery Methods: Pros and Cons

by pietheinbredero

Commercial Construction Project Delivery Methods⁚ Pros and Cons

When embarking on a commercial construction project, one of the most important decisions to make is the project delivery method.​ The project delivery method determines how the project will be organized, managed, and executed.​ There are several different project delivery methods available, each with its own set of pros and cons.​ In this article, we will explore some of the most commonly used commercial construction project delivery methods and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

1. Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

The Design-Bid-Build (DBB) method is the most traditional and widely used project delivery method in the construction industry.​ In this method, the project is divided into three phases⁚ design, bid, and build. First, an architect or engineer is hired to design the project.​ Once the design is complete, the project is put out to bid, and contractors submit their proposals.​ Finally, the project is awarded to the lowest bidder, and construction begins.


  • Clear separation of responsibilities between the designer and the contractor.​
  • Competitive bidding process can result in lower costs.​
  • Design is fully completed before construction begins, reducing the risk of changes and delays.​


  • Design and construction teams may not collaborate effectively, leading to potential conflicts and delays.​
  • Changes to the design during construction can be costly and time-consuming.​
  • Limited flexibility in adapting to unforeseen challenges or changes in project scope.

2.​ Construction Management at Risk (CMAR)

The Construction Management at Risk (CMAR) method involves hiring a construction manager early in the project, during the design phase. The construction manager works closely with the design team to provide input on constructability, cost estimation, and scheduling.​ Once the design is complete, the construction manager assumes the role of the general contractor and takes responsibility for managing the construction phase.


  • Early involvement of the construction manager allows for better coordination and collaboration between the design and construction teams.​
  • Constructability and cost considerations can be addressed early in the design phase, reducing the risk of changes and delays.
  • The construction manager assumes some of the project risks, such as cost overruns and schedule delays.​


  • Design and construction responsibilities may overlap, leading to potential conflicts and disputes.​
  • The construction manager may have limited control over the design phase, potentially impacting the efficiency of construction.​
  • The selection of the construction manager is critical, as their expertise and experience can greatly influence the success of the project.

3.​ Design-Build (DB)

The Design-Build (DB) method involves hiring a single entity, known as the design-builder, to handle both the design and construction of the project.​ This method allows for a more integrated and collaborative approach, as the design-builder is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the project from start to finish.​


  • Single point of accountability, as the design-builder is responsible for both the design and construction.
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication between the design and construction teams.​
  • Greater flexibility in adapting to changes and unforeseen challenges.​


  • The design-builder may prioritize cost and schedule over design quality.​
  • Limited competitive bidding process, potentially resulting in higher costs.​
  • Design changes during construction can still be costly and time-consuming.​

4.​ Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)

The Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) method is a highly collaborative approach that involves all key project stakeholders, including the owner, architect, contractor, and subcontractors, working together as a team from the early stages of the project.​ This method emphasizes shared risk and reward and promotes open communication and cooperation.


  • Early involvement of all stakeholders promotes collaboration and innovation.​
  • Shared risk and reward incentivize all team members to work towards the project’s success.​
  • Improved efficiency and reduced waste through integrated planning and coordination.​


  • Complex and time-consuming process to establish the necessary legal and financial agreements.​
  • Requires a high level of trust and cooperation among all project stakeholders.​
  • Not suitable for all types of projects or all project teams.​

Choosing the right project delivery method is crucial for the successful execution of a commercial construction project. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the decision should be based on the specific needs and goals of the project.​ It is important to carefully evaluate the pros and cons of each method and consider factors such as project complexity, timeline, budget, and the level of collaboration desired.​ Consulting with experienced professionals and seeking input from all project stakeholders can help ensure the selection of the most appropriate project delivery method for a successful outcome.

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