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Understanding Construction Project Relationships

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovation in Construction Engineering Education I

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1310.1 - 13.1310.7



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Paper Authors


Daniel Davis University of Hartford

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Daniel Davis, AIA is a Professor in the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture at the University of Hartford. He is also the Director of Design for the Hartford, Connecticut office of Fletcher-Thompson Architects and Engineers.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Understanding Construction Project Relationships Abstract

Throughout history major construction projects have been designed and built using many different project delivery approaches. Thus, it is important that students studying to be in construction related professions understand various project delivery options and how they may impact the design and construction of their projects. I will attempt to provide an introduction to each of the three most commonly used project delivery approaches. This information could also serve as a simple guide to help construction professionals assist owners as they decide on the approach best suited for their particular project. One objective is to make the point that there is no perfect delivery approach; each has advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding the Project Delivery Approach Choices

When construction professionals are beginning a project, the choice of a construction project delivery approach is critical. This decision is often based on a number of factors, including past experience, skill, and time availability of the owners’ project staff. Additionally, the owners must also decide on their priorities. The four main criteria for the success of any project are cost, quality, time, and safety. There are many viable project delivery methods available today. The following three approaches are the most popular construction project delivery methods:

Design/Bid/Build (also called the Traditional Delivery Method) Construction Manager @ Risk (CM@R) Design/Build (D/B)

Design/Bid/Build Approach

This is the traditional project delivery method, and is sequential in nature. The owner selects an architect and/or engineer to design the project. After the owner approves the design, it is put out for bids to general construction contractors. In most cases the lowest responsible bidder is selected and enters into a contract with the owner. The architect and/or engineer often continues to administer the construction phase of the project for the owner.

This approach gives the owner the most control. The owner is generally involved throughout the design phase, making decisions on the trade-offs between scope and quality, and traditionally delegating the monitoring of construction quality to the architect and/or engineer. By allowing all responsible and qualified contractors to compete on an equal low-bid basis, this approach eliminates allegations of owner favoritism, real or perceived, in the contractor selection process. However, because there is no opportunity for input from the contractor during the design phase, their expertise is unavailable on what may provide the best value in trade-offs between scope and quality. The construction contract is usually done on a lump sum basis, and savings are not returned to the owner. Design/bid/build projects normally do not allow for fast track design and construction, and as a result, can take more time than those delivered by other approaches.

Davis, D. (2008, June), Understanding Construction Project Relationships Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3195

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