Three Benefits of Progressive Design-Build

By Cody Thomas, Esq., Manager and Counsel, AIA Contract Documents

June 8, 2022

Time and Cost Savings in Procurement

From the outset of the project, the qualifications-based procurement process of progressive design-build (PDB) saves the owner both time and costs. Unlike the two-step process of traditional design-build (TDB), which involves several rounds of submissions from contractors, the one-step PDB procurement process reduces the amount of time spent selecting the project’s design-build contractor. Additionally, in TDB procurement, the owner typically incurs the cost of a consultant to prepare the initial criteria that is included in the owner’s RFP. Under PDB, because the contractor is selected on a qualifications basis, the owner avoids incurring the additional cost of hiring a consultant.

Enhanced Creativity and Innovation

PDB offers the design-builder the opportunity to exercise more innovation and creativity in the project’s design. In TDB, the potential design-build contractors are handcuffed by submitting proposals in compliance with the owner’s initial criteria. Because the owner typically doesn’t provide initial criteria in PDB procurement, the handcuffs are removed. The design-builder has the freedom to design the project while collaborating with the owner on the ultimate vision of the completed project, which includes the potential for more creative and innovative designs.

Increased Owner Involvement and Control

At the core of PDB, is the collaborative focus in developing the project. From day one, the design-builder and owner’s work together to develop the project’s schedule, budget, scope, and quality. The owner’s increased involvement early in the planning stage prevents surprises later in the project. Another benefit of the owner’s involvement is the ability to make decisions based on more factors than just cost. A design-build contractor submitting a proposal under a TDB procurement process certainly must balance their design elements against the costs of those elements. The owner’s involvement in PDB allows these decisions to be made based on overall project critical success factors rather than costs alone.

AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.