Whitepaper Review – Selecting the Appropriate Construction Project Delivery Method

by Tim Schmidt

The National Institute of Government Procurement (NIGP) recently released a whitepaper about construction delivery methods. This is important because the different contracting methods influence how buyers will select contractors. TheĀ Selecting the Appropriate Construction Delivery MethodĀ whitepaper provides an excellent introduction.

Three Primary Delivery Methods

The article identifies three chief methods.

Design Bid Build (DBB): DBB is the traditional three-phased contracting method for construction projects. First the project is designed and then the design is bid out to different contractors. This method results in separate contracts for the design and for the construction. The designer is typically selected based upon qualifications while the contractor(s) are selected based upon low-bid.

Design Build (DB): In this project delivery method, a single contractor is responsible for both the design and construction. The contractor is usually selected based upon a combination of qualifications and price through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Alternatively, the contractor might be selected exclusively based on qualifications through a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process.

Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR): Using the CMAR method, the owner enters into separate contracts with the designer and builder. During the design phase, the designer advises the owner on issues like constructability, value engineering, and schedule. After the design is complete, the designer assumes the role of general contractor and is responsible for the completion of the project. In this method, the contractor is typically selected based upon qualifications and construction pricing is fixed or not-to-exceed.

The NIGP whitepaper describes variations of each of these methods plus covers Task Order Contracting (TOC) and Job Order Contracting (JOC).

Each of these methods has advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, the method used is based upon what is legally allowed in the jurisdiction. Other factors that might influence the decision include:

  • Project schedule
  • Project cost
  • Change orders
  • Collaboration
  • Complexity of scope
  • Expertise and capacity
  • Risk/Responsibility
  • Control over design

The NIGP whitepaper includes a chart that compares the attributes for each of the project delivery methods.

This whitepaper is a great resource for those who are new to project delivery methods as well as experienced veterans who want a better understanding of newer project delivery alternatives. You can download the whitepaper from the NIGP website at: http://www.nigp.org/home/find-procurement-resources/guidance/global-best-practices.