Compare and contrast between two design build project cases

Executive summary

Bill Construction Company, a fully- fledged design – build contractor had been hired to design and build a processing industry for a client, Michael processing industry - Compare and contrast between two design build project cases introduction. This was after the owner sought assistance from a professional construction manager- David Newton, due to the complexity of the building. His role was to negotiate with general contractors but the client maintained the sole responsibility of keeping the work on schedule.

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This project, completed in June, 1997, accommodates an office, main processing unit, hazardous materials storage area, as well as maintenance and support space.  Michael wanted this project to begin no later than November, 1995, and be ready for production by May, 1997. A budget of $6.6 million had been authorized for this project. The contractor had the full responsibility for this project’s design, construction and the initial first year of operation.

The contractor demanded clear plans, specifications and enough details of the firm in order to prepare an efficient bid and for timely fair decisions on matters related to project’s administration.

Project Size: 72,000ft2

Building Type: Single storey industry, office, and support space

Construction type: Design and build

Project Type: New Construction

    Project case 2

The owner- Strategic Tourism Center recognized the need to renovate an existing historical structure and construction of a new linking building for office, conference, and recreation and support spaces. This project completed in May, 2001, consists of an ‘’L’’ shaped main building linked to a huddle of two other old historical buildings. This new structure provides an area of approximately 34,000 gross square feet of office, conference and recreation space. Fair Deal Contractors – a design- build contractor was awarded the tender with full responsibility for this project’s design, construction and renovation. The owner authorized a budget of $2.6 million for this project.

Project Size: 62,000 ft2

Building Type: Office, conference and recreation area

Construction type: Design and build

Project Type: New Construction


Introduction and background

Design- build project is a unique delivery system approach where clients choose one entity to provide design and construction phases. The contractors evaluated the real need of the projects and considered all relevant factors before proposing, designing and execution of the projects.

This case study analyses both objective and subjective information about the systems’ design and operation, and evaluates the performances as well as how well the contractors addressed issues such as; matter-of-fact, client specifications, efficiency and effectiveness of construction process and input and output of the units. Both projects engagement involved bid documents:  architectural drawings and project manuals.

The contractors were expected to provide a high level of technical performance and consistency with contractual budget and schedule terms. Design – build projects represented a cost-effective way for the clients in less time than a process that contractually insulated the cases participants while leaving the contractors with most of the projects risks.

  Owners’ role during design and construction of the projects

One eminent similar feature in both constructions is that the owners assisted with critical design decisions; approved schematic drawings, rough cost estimates, outline specifications, contract documents, preliminary cost estimates, and final cost estimates. Both owners also took liability for property other desirable insurance. Both owners also specified the latest starting date and maximum duration of the constructions. As the constructions proceeded, the owners’ representatives inspected the constructions to ensure compliance with the contract documents.

One variation in these constructions is that Bill contractors engaged their construction manager before design had been completed, in order to get an early start of the construction. Work then proceeded on some parts of the building while other parts were still being designed. While the excavation and foundation construction were being carried out, the design of the structural framing was being finished. In Strategic Tourism Center project, a finalized design was made by the Fair Deal Contractors and approved by the client before the construction began. This was after the general contractor, engaged with their specialty subcontractors, for the design.

Design and construction process

Design-build allowed bill Construction Company to offer fast work procurement and more effective than tradition design-bid-build method. This technique allowed the contractors to progress from step to step at an accelerated pace and met the needs client’s and building codes. Bill contractors first made a 30% preliminary design and paced this project relying on performance-based specifications and their prior experience.

The overall concept of the system was designed, and then they worked out further details in hierarchial manner. In this way the more specialized details were worked out by their specialized subcontractors. The reason for this was that the client’s requirements were specific about certain detailed industrial features. It was also an objective of such a project which would incorporate certain new features such as machinery and equipments.

In the Tourism Center case, Fair Deal Contractors made a robust project design before any construction in order to promote its constructability and cost-effectiveness.  The fundamentals any strategic design on the old historical building remained the same; as only renovation was required from the current design. The new building incorporated the existing historical structure plus its systems, subsystems, and system components.

The characteristics of components, products, materials involved, and assembly matched with existing old structure in terms of style, finish, surfaces decoration and dimensions. Compatibility between new and existing materials was also ensured.

Fair Deal Contractors got authority from the client to add desirable complementary objectives not addressed via client’s requirements and specifications. The design and construction was also expected to meet known or predicted future demands.

Both contractors employed labor from unionized craftspeople, in which their members performed only the work assigned to their trade. Groups of workers were supervised by crew supervisors, all whom reported to a supervisor.

Inspection during construction

During construction in both cases, the owners engaged inspectors through their architects and consultants. The inspectors had the full responsibility of ensuring that the construction met the requirements of the contract documents and performance under safe conditions. Inspections were also made by a government agency to ensure that they met legal requirements and conformance with contract documents and with the state building code.

The clients also checked to ensure that constructions costs were kept within their budgets and to correct any defects while retaining desirable features in accordance with their specification. The ultimate goal of the inspections was to ensure assembly of components or subsystems to form tan optimum system to attain specified goals and objectives while subject to given constrains and restrictions.

To complete the projects in a timely manner was a core requirement from both clients hence both contractors did a schedule time format for each activity. Each activity consisted of its earliest and latest finish time and a total float value. This provided a basis for evaluation by the clients on expected duration time.

Testing, balancing and operating of the buildings systems

 In both cases, the buildings had a one year warrant and guarantee period whereby the contractors made representation and recognition that certain buildings elements and systems needed adjustments and modifications, depending on actual occupancy conditions or normal maintenance and usage patterns of the systems.

 An eminent variation is that the tourist company was handed over the facility after the owner’s representative’s final inspection. This was accompanied by issue of certificates of occupancy and commissioning. After the building engineer understood the system operation, the client personnel assumed full responsibility and dealt directly with manufacturers for various components for maintenance. Having been sole responsible for this project design, construction and operation, Fair Deal Contractors had no role to play for its financing, management and its ultimate commercial success.

In Michael processing industry, a one year operation period was awarded, during which the contractor maintained and operated the project for the owner’s benefit. Though in each case the contractors were compensated for their work during design and built phases, a separate compensation was awarded to Bill Construction Company for operating and maintenance of the facility during the first year of operation. It was after this subcontract period that the responsibility for management, performance, operation and maintenance was transferred to the client- Michael processing industry.

Buildings’ designs on safety and operations in emergency

Both contractors assessed risks; guided by building-code, zoning- code, and health-agency specifications and exercising their best judgment selected a cost effective scheme to reduce risks occurrence within acceptable levels. They designed and fixed services essential to safe, rapid evacuation of occupants in event of fire or other emergencies and for assisting safe movement of fire fighters, medical personnel, or other aides. This was in line with buildings safety precautions requirements.

In line with industries safety, Bill Construction Company made extra precautions to ensure a higher magnitude of safety factor in accordance to; the importance of the building, extent of personal injury or property loss, and the high magnitude costs of loads and properties in the building.

In the tourist case, materials, equipments and ways of execution were assessed and approved before any construction began. Quality assurance on: prerequisites, standards, limitations, and criteria were established for an overall level of quality production and workmanship in the projects.

Post construction operation and maintenance

In the Michael processing industry, the technical specifications required that some time be devoted prior to project closeout for instruction and training of the client’s building operating personnel and building engineer, who will be responsible for operating and maintaining the building systems. During the warranty and guarantee period, the contractor was expected and did assist the building engineer further in operation and maintenance of the system, including testing, balancing and minor adjustments.

The key to a successful future use, improvements and modification of the tourist case depended on the simplicity and ease of construction as opposed to processing industry, which was detailed and needed mathematical prowess for any modification. The tourist client gave the contractor final payment and got certificate of occupancy ready for operation.


These design and build cases demonstrate use of scientific principles, synthesis, analysis, creativity, decision making, together with the timely consideration of clients factor, technical information and the projects’ output demands in a practicable efficient economic atmosphere.

In both constructions, technical specifications had been drawn which were available to the public, drawn up with cooperation and approval of all interests affected by it. The projects were as a result of consolidated results of science, technology, and experience, aimed at the promotion of optimum benefits and were approved by their respective regional bodies

The contractors considered that their clients’ specifications did not contradict with standards but complemented them. In fact specifications were derived from the cooperation of clients and contractors. In this way they led ultimately to required levels of standards.


Frederick S. Merritt, Jonathan T. Ricketts (1994). Building Design and Construction Handbook. New York: McGraw-Hill, INC

George E. Dieter (1991). Dieter Engineering design: A materials processing approach. New York: McGraw-Hill, INC

Neil S. Grigg (2001). Civil Engineering Practice In the 21- first Century. New York: library of congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Peter J. Cox (1994). Writing Specifications for Construction. London: McGraw-Hill, INC


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