The design-build (D-B) method of project delivery dates back to the creation of Babylon, the world’s first metropolis, in 1795 B.C. The success of this method of project delivery is anchored on the idea of aligning the interests of the project’s owner with those of his design, and construction agents through the designation of a single source of responsibility for the total project.
The D-B method of project delivery is the standard used in most countries around the world, usually referred to as Turnkey Construction. In North America, tradition and legal dictum led designers down a different path referred to as design-bid-build system; where designers simply prepare construction documents for the owner, who procures bids from contractors on a price competitive basis. The problem with this is that there is no alignment of interest between any of the parties. The designers maintain an arm’s length relationship with builders, vendors, or anyone on the construction side of the industry; shielding them from new technological advances, changes in means and methods of construction, and labor costs. Contractors, since they are usually selected strictly on the basis of lowest price, have little opportunity or incentive to offer alternative solutions to the owner prior to their contractual engagement. In an industry as perfectly competitive as construction, there is little room for significant advantages in efficiencies between contractors, so the system skews towards the less scrupulous or least competent to be the ones offering the lowest prices. These asymmetries of information often lead to projects with bids that exceed their budgets due to lack of information on the designers side, inadequate project quality, change orders that increase costs, delay progress, and in many cases culminate in the cancelation of otherwise viable investments.
The single sources of responsibility characteristic of the D-B method has been documented to produce better quality projects, at a lower cost, and in less time than traditional methods.
The principals at NIGMA Construction have been executing Complex Design-Build infrastructure, transportation, and commercial projects for over thirty years in 17 countries.