4 Advantages of Design Build in Dallas-Fort Worth | Helping Project Owners Choose

Owners of construction projects face a mountain of daunting decisions, risks and challenges from the conception of their idea to project completion. The project delivery method you choose will drive the success of your plans and determine how much support our team can give you throughout the process.

Understanding the different delivery methods gives a great foundation for exploring which method will help your project succeed. At McCownGordon Construction, we’re here to help you navigate the experience as a partner. Our expertise allows us to perform on any project delivery method, but our experience demonstrates advantages to collaborative methods like design build in Dallas-Fort Worth and across our markets.

In our collaborative design-build delivery method, by working together with the architect as one team under one contract we offer more streamlined processes. Our fully integrated design-build team leads the process from initial planning sessions through project completion. This approach offers a single source of communication for the owner and streamlines the entire design and build journey. It also allows for flexibility in overlapping phases of the project for a reduced schedule. 

Often, you end up saving money and time on your build because construction can begin while the design is still being finalized.

Contact us today to get started on developing your RFP

Design-build project delivery

Design-build is a common collaborative project delivery method in which the owner hires both the designer and the construction manager at the same time under a single contract. A single point of responsibility for the owner and a greater ability to collaborate are two of the major differences between design-build and the more traditional design-bid-build delivery method.

With design-build, your construction manager, trade partners and architects work together for a common goal—getting you the best results. This early collaboration streamlines the process, ensures all parties are on the same page and often results in added value for owners through more value-driven, constructable designs and shortened overall project schedules. Plus, with the development of a guaranteed maximum price early on, there’s a reduced likelihood of pricing changes throughout the process. 

At McCownGordon, we focus on ensuring you experience a straightforward and smooth construction project. We do anything we can to clear up misconceptions to make the building process as stress-free as possible. In today’s market, design-build stands out as the delivery method for a growing percentage of construction projects. There are pros and cons to any construction project delivery method, but we find the following four things to be major benefits to choosing design-build.

1. Design-build delivers projects faster

A major advantage of choosing design build in the Dallas-Fort Worth construction landscape is the fact that your project is completed faster, because designing and building are done concurrently. This allows construction to provide feedback to architects regarding constructability, cost and time. Architects, in turn, provide the construction team with progress drawings and information. This exchange of information makes it easier for the entire team to quickly understand potential changes in the plans further along in the process. 

Related: Real-Time Estimating

Having a single point of contact also streamlines the project. Because the entire team—including the owner, designer, and contractor—addresses changes, collaborative problem-solving happens naturally. The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) performed research showing, compared to design-bid-build, design-build projects are delivered 36% faster during construction and 102% faster over the life of the project.


2. Design-build saves money

DBIA research from 2018 showed design-build projects cost an average of 1.9% less per square foot compared to construction manager at risk, and 0.3% less when compared to design-bid-build. Additionally, design-build projects average 2.4% less cost growth than comparably scoped projects using construction manager at risk and 3.8% less cost growth compared to design-bid-build projects. 

The team chemistry between owner, designer and builder drives that reduction in cost per square foot along with open book contracting terms and lower initial contracted unit costs. The reduction in cost growth relates back to those same factors, as well as the earlier involvement of the builder. Having the contractor price material as the design team plans contributes to cost reduction. We provide additional options so the owner can select products that have the same look, feel and quality for a lower price. 

3. Design-build projects give opportunities to innovate

When FMI surveyed project owners, respondents identified the top benefits associated with different project delivery methods. For design-build, “more opportunities to innovate” was strongly associated as a benefit, along with the “ability to fast track projects.” Traditional delivery methods lack the same collaboration and innovation opportunities developed in design-build delivery. 

4. Design-build reduces risk for owners

The nature of a single contract between the owner and the design-build entity transfers the risk onto the design-build entity’s shoulders. In addition to this actual transfer of risk, the collaborative nature of design-build project delivery reduces risk through open communication and common goals. 

Other collaborative project delivery methods

The variety of situations surrounding construction projects means no project delivery method is entirely free of challenges. However, the proper implementation of the system best-suited to your project makes a huge difference in the project’s overall success. 

At McCownGordon, our experience with different delivery methods has shown collaborative delivery methods like design-build, construction management at risk, and integrated project delivery provide the highest quality final product while adhering to the schedule and budget constraints originally set. Collaboration allows balanced participation in the project direction between owner, architect and contractor, reduces risk to the owner, lessens the chance of change orders, and reduces schedule extensions. Want more information on delivery methods?

Next steps after project delivery method choice

Once you select your project delivery system, it is important to take steps to maximize the chances of your project success:

  • Effectively communicate to all team members (architects, engineers, construction managers, trade partners and consultants) the goals, objectives and issues leading to the selection of the delivery system. It is important they understand and commit to the owner’s expectations. 
  • Ensure the terms and conditions of all contracts reflect the project goals, objectives and expectations, and memorialize all related agreements. For example, if the team anticipates changes during construction, be sure the contract defines how they will be managed, and their cost- and schedule-impact minimized.
  • Consider legal assistance experienced in construction matters for crafting contract language.
  • Commit to the appropriate level of owner involvement, e.g. active involvement with timely and informed decision-making to not delay or impact the project. Conversely, avoid imposing owner changes or controls on DB contracts.
  • Assess risks and plan how to manage the overall program, e.g., internally or via a program management consultant.
  • Recognize disputes over scope, quality and other issues may still arise. Define how disputes will be handled to minimize cost/schedule impacts.

Design build in Dallas-Fort Worth | A proven project delivery method

In 1998, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) published a report titled, “A Comparison of U.S. Project Delivery Systems.” They studied the performance of design-bid-build, construction manager at risk, and design-build projects of different sizes, sectors, complexities, and locations. Their analysis showed design-build projects outperformed the other delivery methods in terms of unit cost, cost and schedule growth, and all metrics relating to the speed of the project delivery. 

Twenty years later, DBIA performed a study to update the median performance benchmarks for project delivery systems using contemporary projects. Their findings showed “design-build projects are still delivered faster and with greater reliability in cost and schedule performance.”

Still not sure what delivery method to choose? Use our planning tool to figure out how we can help bring your project to life.  We’d love to learn more about your needs or upcoming project to help bring your vision to reality. 

What to consider when reviewing delivery methods

We usually recommend owners pay attention to the following considerations when choosing between construction project delivery methods:

  • Regulations: You should always do your own research to ensure you’re working within set guidelines, and our team is happy to provide guidance.
  • Budget: Budget is one of the major factors in any project decision, including delivery method. Not only the amount of your budget, but where the funding is coming from (whether private or public) matters.
  • Schedule: Time constraints matter when choosing construction project delivery methods, as some will lead to breaking ground earlier than others.
  • Complexity: The complexity of your project factors into how well each delivery method will perform. 
  • Owner expertise: If you’ve got a solid basis of experience as an owner, you may be willing to accept more risk than those without experience, this impacts your delivery method.

Take advantage of design build in Dallas-Fort Worth with McCownGordon

McCownGordon is prepared to meet the need for design build project delivery in Dallas-Fort Worth and across all regions we serve. Collaborative project delivery methods lead to optimum results for nearly any project through reduced risk, early collaboration, and balanced participation. Want more information on delivery methods? 

Contact us today to get started on developing your RFP

At McCownGordon, our team maintains a customer-focused mentality, allowing us to meet or exceed even your highest expectations. Dedicated to promoting integrity, performance and relationships, it’s our people and values that truly make the difference.

Our customers aren’t simply another project; they’re an extension of our team and community. Together, we don’t just build—we bring creative visions to life. From first thought to final nail, we deliver quality work to ensure our builds stand above the rest. 

We have three regional offices around the Midwest—Kansas City, Manhattan and Wichita in addition to our newest location in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Call us at 888-304-4929 or use our free online quote tool to start building today. 


Let’s Build.