25 October 2021

Design and Build vs Traditional Procurement

If you’re planning an office refurb or fit out, you may be wondering whether to go down a traditional procurement route or use a design and build company.

Here we explore the benefits and differences of each option, helping you make the right choice for your business and project.

Deciding between design and build (commonly known as D&B) and traditional procurement methods may feel like a daunting decision to make. To say that one route is better than the other isn’t necessarily true. The answer depends on your building project and specific goals.

Here we give you an overview of each method:

Traditional Procurement

The traditional procurement method has moved on significantly from its original approach – with bills of quantities, variations, and claims – and we are now seeing a significant number of projects being delivered through a process where design is developed to a certain level by the professional team (usually RIBA Stage 2,3 or 4) and is then tendered to competing contractors.

Traditionally, the client partners with a Project Manager, Contract Administrator or Employers Agent to appoint a design consultancy (or architectural practice), before requesting bids from contractors to deliver the project. They would oversee the project and manage the relationship between the design team, contractor and client.

Design and Build vs Traditional Procurement

Detail and Build

This newer approach to the traditional route is often referred to detail and build, where the design is set by the client team, but the contractors carry the risk and complete the final detailed design portion.

This client team will generally retain involvement throughout the delivery of the project as client advisors, thereby providing the client with professional advice through the life of the project.

Some examples of our traditional build projects are LABS and WeWork. We have recently announced projects in Manchester and Preston for leading law firm Brabners, working alongside of Knight Frank, Incognito and Crookes Walker.

Design and Build

Turnkey design and build projects, deliver both the full design element and the construction under a single contract, and the contractor takes on all aspects of the design development and responsibility.

Due to this approach, the bidding process can take place earlier on, choosing one contractor to provide consultancy, design, specification, project management and construction (as well as engagement and activation where applicable) services efficiently. It’s their responsibility to make everything happen.

Design and Build vs Traditional Procurement

For the vast majority of our Design and Build projects, we would find that the client would have supporting professional advice through the services of a Project Manager or Quantity Surveyor.

Often the responses to a tendered Design and Build pitch will result in numerous differing ideas, designs and proposals – this can make the assessment of selection challenging as commercial submissions will be varied, but does offer a wider lens on what the space could be.

The pros and cons of each route

Pros of Traditional Procurement:

  • Greater level of cost comparison between tendering parties
  • Visibility of investment and greater understanding of cost proposals
  • Allows for risk transfer to contractors under detail & build approach
  • Affords clients time to invest in the design

Cons of Traditional Procurement:

  • More time hungry in pre-contract period, developing design and tender packs
  • Upfront investment in professional team appointment

We’re specialists at delivering high-value, complex fit-outs and collaborating with top-tier professional teams. If you’re interested in taking a traditional procurement route, we provide a comprehensive construction and delivery service, all from our expert in-house teams.

Pros of Design and Build:

  • One contractor retains overall control and accountability
  • It can speed up the relocation or refurbishment programme
  • Reduces expenditure on professional fees
  • Integrate activation and engagement for end user communication

Cons of Design and Build:

  • Unable to see true like for like cost comparison for tendered submissions
  • Greater reliance on single provider, therefore more trust needed in the team you appoint

We’ve designed and built some of the UKs most inspiring workplaces including MoneySuperMarket, BLM and Flutter Entertainment.

The best of both worlds?

The best of both worlds?

There is a current trend we are witnessing where a hybrid approach is being taken. Clients are seeking a combined submission, with pre-designed layouts and specifications being tendered, but with a contractor’s design portion allocated for feature areas.

This allows the best of both worlds, with the direct cost comparison for the main works, plus the ability to see alternative views, ideas, and approaches for the design elements.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to find out more about whether design & build or traditional procurement is right for your business or project, get in touch with our team for guidance.

Workplace [R]Evolution: Issue 3
Workplace [R]Evolution: Issue 3

With many organisations now viewing hybrid working as a competitive advantage, it’s more important than ever to engage with people, to guide workplace decisions.

In this third issue of the Workplace [R]Evolution, we’re bringing you the latest data, exploring how to lead with employee experience and sharing the latest examples of hybrid workplaces.

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