8 Advantages of Design & Build in Construction

Design & Build bring both the design and the construction team together as one entity streamlining schedules, ensuring optimal results and allowing the client a single point of contact for the design and construction phases of a project

Successful Project delivery can often be a balancing act between the MEP consultant and MEP contractor where the end client becomes the middleman settling disputes or sorting out the origins for cost overruns and associated issues between consultant and contractor. As a provider of integrated design & build MEP solutions, we know that the process of Design & Build brings both the design and the construction team together as one entity. This allows the streamlining schedules, ensuring optimal results and allowing the client a single point of contact for the design and construction phases of a project. 

For EDC Design & Build offers streamlined project delivery, a solution-based approach and open communication throughout the project lifetime.

Below are 8 advantages of appointing a Design & Build Consultancy for project delivery:

  1. MEP Contractors onsite knowledge & experience is key

With around 5% of the total construction costs allocated on average to rework, and an average of 3% return on projects (reference: quality.org ) it is vitally important that these reworks at construction phase be kept to an absolute minimum. With early practical input from the contractor regarding installation, potential issues on site can be “designed out” before leaving the consultant’s office, saving time on rework at a later (and more costly) stage in a project.

  1. Consultant Expertise  

To be an effective Design & Build firm, you have to be experts in both design and construction. Items such as accurate cable sizing, duct sizing, coordinating services as well as project team coordination are all skills that a good Design & Build consultancy firm must-have. Smart engineering is something all Design & Build firms need to excel in, always looking to deliver intelligent solutions fully coordinated before getting to the site. This will save the contractor valuable time & money at the construction phase.

3. These next three items are essential to successful relationships between MEP Consultant & Contractor, and without these elements being efficiently implemented, the project can quickly become fraught with issues, overruns and reworks.

      3.1 Clear scope of works

With Design & Build the scope between the MEP contractor & consultant are clear from the beginning. So if issues arise, they are addressed and fixed efficiently and quickly between the MEP contractor and the consultant. A solution-based approach is taken as opposed to a blame-based work funnel.

      3.2 Communication and Understanding

The Design & Build process tends to be a much more transparent process. Right from the start, this process dictates that communication between all parties need to be clear. With a clear understanding from both parties of what is involved (whether it be installing a piece of conduit or producing an installation drawing), this will ultimately lead to a well-designed, well-engineered solution & straightforward installation onsite, within agreed timeframes and within budget.

       3.3 Timeframes

Time is always at the top of all Main Contractor/Clients minds when embarking on a new project. The function of the Design & Build system is to be as adaptable and responsive as possible to changes in the design or construction phase. Early MEP contractor involvement allows construction engineering considerations to be incorporated into the design phase/scope streamlining schedules and ensuring optimal performance, which leads to savings on project time for the client.

Killarney MHRU – MEP, BIM, Design & Build
A new 40-bed Mental Health Unit for Killarney. EDC carried out a detailed design of the MEP works incorporated clash free for 3D coordination. BIM population to LED 300. The project involved the modelling of all internal and external services related to the project. Read the full project details here
  1. Project Cost Savings

Design & Build allows the costs to be agreed from beginning under a single Design & Build provider negating the need for multiple parties all trying to coordinate on the one project. This provides a streamlined and efficient form of management that reduces overall costs of the project. Rework is reduced due to the availability of more field data from the main contractor, and earlier identification and elimination of design errors or omissions may have previously shown up at the construction phase.  

  1. Mitigated Risk to the Client

Every project carries with it an element of risk. The advantage of Design & Build is that the consultant and contractor are tied into a singular contract. As such a large portion of the risk associated with the project is carried by consultant and contractor, the need to collaborate throughout the project is vital to ensure errors are minimised and rework is kept to a minimum. Any design issues will remain with the Design & Build contractor and will not be the responsibility of the client.

  1. Project Success

Working together as a collaborative united team can only mean positive results and removes unnecessary conflict and disagreements between the MEP contractor and the Design & Build team (in a traditional project this would be channelled through the client). The teams work together for solutions rather than looking to allocate blame with regards to issues on the project.

  1. Repeat work

Satisfied clients lead to more work for both consultant & contractor, and once a contractor and consultant are aligned with regards to work styles and project teams, there is less time spent trying to resolve queries. This leads to less cost for the main contractor/client and the ease of a single point of contact for the main contractor for install and design queries.

  1. Referrals

Once a relationship is built between MEP Contractor & Consultant, the main contractor is willing to introduce the MEP consultant to their client base & vice versa. This aligned approach between the MEP consultant & MEP contractor results in repeat business and just as important referral business.

Beal High School, UK – MEP, BIM, BREEAM, Energy Engineering, Design & Build
EDC formed part of the design team appointed by Morgan Sindall to provide MEP Engineering Services to the Beal High School.  Read the full project details here

The Design & Build delivery method works extremely well for new construction as well as major renovation projects. Here we have covered just a few of the reasons why the Design & Build method is beneficial as a project team to end clients. With every new opportunity, we look to develop a partnership.  

EDC would like to be your design partner for your next Design & Build project. Contact us today to learn more about Design & Build its benefits and costs, and if it could be a solution for your building needs. 


Contact Richard O’Farrell, Managing Director.