4 questions to ask before starting a commercial construction project

When starting the process to build a new facility or renovate an existing one, the first question people often ask is how to start. It’s followed by a host of other questions. Below is a set of frequently asked questions McCownGordon Construction gets when clients are evaluating the best delivery method for their construction or manufacturing project.

1. I know I need to hire an architect and construction manager. Where do I begin?

Begin by selecting a delivery method. Delivery methods are how the project is delivered from a contractual point of view. This will determine how and when you select an architect and construction manager. For instance, if you choose design-build delivery method, you select a predetermined team of an architect and construction company together.

2. Now that I know I need to select a delivery method, what are the different delivery methods?

The most common delivery methods are design-bid-build (DBB), construction manager at risk (CMAR), design-build (DB) and integrated project delivery (IPD).

  • Design-bid-build is the least collaborative. The owner will select the construction firm after the design is fully complete and hire them based on the lowest fee.
  • Construction manager at risk: As the design progresses, or even at the start of design, the owner hires the construction manager to guide design and scope decisions from a constructability and cost point of view. This is a very collaborative delivery method where the owner, architect and construction company work together to finalize design. The construction company holds the risk of the trade partner’s contracts.
  • Design-build: Since the architect and construction company join as a team before they are hired, the whole process is collaborative. As the architect designs, the construction company serves as an advocate for the owner’s dollars and schedule.
  • Integrated project delivery: This delivery method is the most collaborative as it holds the whole project team (owner, architect, construction manager and trade partners) accountable on the success of the project.

3. Sounds like design-bid-build is the cheapest and easiest option, is that true?

No. That is false due to two main reasons.

  • Because the design is already complete, often once the construction company is onboarded, the construction firm will find that the budget and scope of the project don’t align. This will then delay the project as the design team will have to redesign aspects of the project if the owner doesn’t want to pay the overage. If the construction company was working with the design team from the beginning like in CMAR, DB or IPD, then the scope and budget would be evaluated by the construction manager throughout the design to ensure the owners goals were met.
  • Since the selection is based on lowest fee, you may have an unreliable construction company or one that doesn’t look out for the owner’s best interests. If you select a collaborative delivery method, you can interview the teams to better understand the values and previous work of the construction manager you hire to ensure the team for your project is aligned with you.

4. For my project, what delivery method would you select?

We would love to meet to review your project with you, as the best method is dependent upon the type of project. We prefer the collaborative delivery methods of CMAR, DB and IPD as we can act as the owner’s advocate more in these methods to ensure a positive experience from design through close out. These typically provide for a better schedule, price and scope alignment, and lower risk for the owner.

Download our guide to learn more about our delivery methods and reach out to McCownGordon Construction to sit down with an expert to help you decide.