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What does design-build mean?

We use the term “design-build” frequently on the Purple Line Extension Project, even referring to our main contractor, Skanska, Traylor and Shea (STS), as the Design-Builder or DB, but what exactly does that mean?

Design-Build refers to a project delivery method that includes the designer as part of the construction contractor’s team. This method differs from the design-bid-build process, in which the owner of the project retains a designer to produce the final design, solicits new bids for construction and provides the final design to the chosen builder.

Design-Build Image

The design-build process is quickly becoming the preferred method in the construction world because it saves time, money and improves the quality of the project by having a single source of responsibility working with the owner of the project. When all parties involved in the project join together from the very beginning, everyone can work as a team, develop relationships and achieve shared goals. The same team will also be working closely together as the design plan is executed during construction.

During the designing phase, the “builder” of the project can add suggestions and input from a construction perspective that will be valuable to the engineers designing the project. Similarly, as the project progresses, the “design” team will be on hand to ensure quality control and continuously provide guidance and input throughout the construction of the project. This is especially beneficial in the event that redesign or rework is needed. The Design-Builder team can work with Metro to develop a unified solution.

“We find that having builders involved and integrated in the design process will allow the project to be more cohesive and will also let us work closely with Metro as a team,” said Mike Aparicio, Skanska’s project lead for the Purple Line Extension. “This will also allow us to be more responsive to the community because we can take ownership of the project as a whole.”

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