Trends in Project Delivery Methods in Construction

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There are a variety of project delivery methods available to owners and contractors today, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

April 3, 2023
Sarah B. Biser - ConsensusDocs

The three key measures of a construction project’s success are cost, quality, and time (delays). The project delivery method that the owner of the project selects can affect each of these metrics. Project delivery methods in complex construction projects evolve as technology and processes improve. The traditional methods of design-bid-build (DBB), design-build (DB), and construction management (CM) have been the standard for many years. More recently, however, newer methods such as integrated project delivery (IPD), and public-private partnerships (PPP) have gained traction.

Design – Bid – Build (DBB)
Design-bid-build is the oldest, most commonly used method of project delivery. It involves three distinct phases: design, bid/award, and construction. An owner asks a team of professionals, such as architects, engineers, and contractors, to produce design documents that will be used to solicit bids. After the owner evaluates the bids and chooses a contractor, a construction contract is written. While this method is the most familiar and well-understood, it can lead to disputes during the construction process as changes are made to the original plans.

In DBB, the owner bears the risk for funding increased costs attributed to design changes and related delays – thanks to the Spearin Doctrine, which holds that the owner impliedly warrants the information, plans, and specifications that it provides to a general contractor. See 248 U.S. 132 (1918) Although the owner cannot claim against the contractor, it can make a claim against the design firm.

Ms. Biser may be contacted at


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