Alternative Project Delivery Methods Threaten Design-Bid-Build Model

Mar 16, 2011

Press Release: March 16, 2011
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (March 16, 2011) — The design-bid-build delivery method may still rule the construction industry, but it is quickly loosing favor. In the March 14 issue of The Zweig Letter, the weekly management publication from ZweigWhite, several industry leaders indicated that the traditional delivery method will be supplanted by approaches that favor collaboration and integration.
“Design-bid-build has always been problematic in that the successful low bidder is usually the firm that made the biggest mistake,” said Geoffrey Butler, president and CEO of Butler, Rosenbury & Partners, a multidiscipline firm in Springfield, Mo. “Then, after they get the job, they spend the rest of the time trying to cover their mistake and to protect their margins. This creates an adversarial relationship with the architect and owner.” According to ZweigWhite’s 2010 Project Management Survey, 43 percent of all projects are delivered through D-B-B. But Design/Build, an increasingly popular delivery method, already accounts for 27 percent of projects, according to the survey. The Design-Build Institute of America also estimates that design/build now accounts for 45 percent of nonresidential construction— same as D-B-B— in the U.S. Several leaders told TZL they believe that more collaborative methods, including Integrated Project Delivery, will eventually become the mainstream. Said Cyrus Izzo, co-president at SH Group in New York, “The integrated project delivery system is definitely going to impact the future of our industry, and we will see it utilized in conjunction with the public/private partnership model.” Janice Stevenor Dale, president of JSDA, an interior design firm in Pasadena, Calif., also favors more collaborative methods. “Design-bid-build has never been the way if teams wish to work collaboratively and in a positive work environment where team members have mutual respect for one another,” she said. “Negotiating with the right general contractor to add him/her to the team early in the process is the far better method and represents best practices for all non-governmental projects.” All is not lost for D-B-B, though, and many still consider it a dependable a project delivery method. “I still believe in the design-bid-build process for most projects,” Ramesh Gunda, president of Gunda Corporation in Houston, Texas, told TZL. “However, there is no universal solution for delivering projects. For more on The Zweig Letter and to see subscription details, please visit ABOUT ZWEIGWHITE Twice named to the Inc. 500 list of best firms, ZweigWhite is the nation’s leader in enhancing business performance for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms. The ZweigWhite team consists of experts in strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business valuation, ownership transition, human resources management, finance, marketing, market research, project management and project delivery methods who collectively produce a comprehensive suite of products and services, including advisory, consulting, newsletters, controlled-circulation magazines, industry reports, executive training, business conferences and more covering virtually every aspect of firm management. The firm is headquartered in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with additional offices in, Chicago, IL, Durham, NC, and Natick, MA. ZweigWhite is owned by investors Eli Global, BIA Digital Partners and MZ Ventures, with management including Mark Zweig and Ed Friedrichs. For more information, visit or call (479) 582-5700. ###

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.