The positive aspects of design and build construction have frequently been publicized in trade journals and construction-oriented websites, and for good reason. The innovative construction/delivery model does indeed have numerous benefits in terms of speed, simplicity, efficiency, and ease of implementation. Given the near universal focus on the positive aspects of design-build however, it is easy to disregard some of the glaring drawbacks of the construction-delivery model. Here are some of the possible negative aspects of design build construction that do not get nearly the same amount of press as the positive aspects.
Reduced control over the project design
In the design build system, much of the control that was traditionally in the hands of the building owner is shifted to the contractor. Depending on how much owner control is necessary for the successful completion of the project, this shift may or may not be acceptable to the owner. If the building owner wishes to have more control over the project, a design-bid-build model might be preferable to design build construction.
Reduced quality control
One of the main advantages of design-build is the more efficient coordination and cooperation between the designer and the contractor, since they are essentially working as part of a single team. However, this isn’t necessary the best approach all the time, as the merging of both roles into one umbrella role effectively results in the loss of a “check-and-balance” system, in which designers and contractors provide input to each other with regard to the quality of the work. In a design build model, the owner may have to assign a third party to oversee quality control.
Little/no input into the selection of the design team
In design-bid-build construction, owners typically have free reign in deciding on the designer they wish to use for the job. Owners do not have this privilege in design build construction however where the designer is typically a part of the construction team. If the owner wants to assign his own designer, the design-bid-build model might be better suited to his plans.