Delivery methods analysis and comparison

A deeper look at four major construction delivery methods

construction delivery methods at McCownGordon

Project delivery methods, or how the project will be designed, constructed and delivered, is one of the most crucial decisions made by owners who embark on construction projects. We created a delivery method analysis and comparison to help you make the right choice. This can help overcome project challenges and be tailored to best meet the unique needs of each owner and project.

Download our comparison guide

Which Method Is Best for My Project?

There are several important project considerations that are directly impacted by the delivery method. These considerations include the complexity of the construction project, the availability of owner resources to help manage a project, the owner’s level of expertise with design and construction processes, necessary schedule constraints, budget and funding requirements and an owner’s risk tolerance. Four of the most often-used project delivery methods include: Design-Bid-Build, Construction Management At Risk, Design-build and Integrated Project Delivery.

Each of these project delivery methods holds a different level of risk for the owner. Generally, the level of control retained by the owner correlates with the level of risk, and those levels typically have an inverse relationship to the risk and control levels of the contractor.

None of these delivery methods are right for every project. For each situation, there will be advantages and disadvantages in the use of any specific method. The owner needs to carefully assess the project requirements, goals and potential challenges and find the delivery method that offers the best opportunity for success.

Download our delivery method guide to find out what construction delivery method is best for your project.


What are the Goals and Objective for the Project?

Project owners generally have the same goals when completing a project: construction at a reasonable cost, of the highest quality, and completed within the shortest period of time.

However, some goals may take precedent over others. For example, the speed of implementation may be more important than cost on certain projects. For others, maintenance and life-cycle costs may be the primary concern. Owner control of the design may be important for some, while, for others, lowest initial construction cost is paramount.

When selecting the best project delivery method, rank your goals, objectives and challenges and match them to the strengths and attributes of the various project delivery methods. For example, some projects may be challenged by cash-flow restrictions or a renovation project may have ongoing operational needs during construction. The analysis is not so much a question of advantages versus disadvantages, but rather to select the delivery method with the strengths and attributes that best align with the goals and needs of the project.

Advantages and considerations for each of these four project delivery systems are summarized in our construction delivery method guide.

Download the construction delivery method guide


No project delivery methods is free of challenges. But, choosing the system that best works for your specific project, and actively ensuring it is properly implemented, can highly affect the success of the project.

Our experience in each of the delivery methods shows that collaborative delivery methods (CM, DB and IPD) provide the best final product at the most optimum schedule for the best value regardless of the project type. These methods reduce the risk to the owner, reduce potential change orders, reduce project schedule overages, all while allowing each party, owner, architect and contractor, a balanced participation in the project direction.

Still not sure what delivery method to choose? Use our planning tool to figure out how we can help bring your project to life.  We’d love to learn more about your needs or upcoming project to help bring your vision to reality.

Planning Tool