bigstock-reception-in-hospital-17360147When looking to build a dental or medical office, several options present themselves. Should you go the traditional route and use a Design-Bid-Build approach, or instead find a Design-Build contractor to construct your project?

Taking the latter approach would place you inside one of the fastest-growing branches of the construction industry. A 2009 study by the Design Build Institute of America reported that Design-Build projects accounted for 40 percent of the non-residential U.S. construction market, a 10 percent increase over 2005.

Design-Build differs from Design-Bid-Build by consolidating the design and construction of a project within one company. Traditionally, a construction project required two separate entities: architects to design the project, and contractors to build it.

Design-Build brings both architects and contractors under one roof, combining their experience and expertise, and leading to greater collaboration. The project is thus delivered more quickly and at lower cost.

Here are five reasons you should use a Design-Build contractor to construct your dental or medical office.

1. One Contract

When you use a Design-Build contractor, you eliminate the hassle of entertaining separate bids for the design and construction of your project. You’re presented one bid, informed by the combined expertise of the architects and contractors working in unison.

The traditional Design-Bid-Build approach can lead to confusion, as contractors struggle to interpret the architect’s plans or deal with unexpected issues while trying to construct the design. With Design-Build, all parties collaborate on the design from day one.

2. Faster Delivery

Because they work in the same company, both architects and general contractors in a Design-Build firm participate in the design process. This means contractors and tradesmen inform architectural decisions, and vice versa. Potential issues are discovered earlier and workarounds are devised, reducing the number of delays.

A peer-reviewed paper published by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2011 established that Design-Build projects are completed up to 33 percent faster than traditional approaches. By working as collaborators, rather than adversaries, architects and contractors are able to create more efficient, streamlined project schedules.

3. Greater Cost Savings

The same 2011 paper found that the Design-Build approach delivered cost savings of up to 43 percent. When architects and contractors are on the same page, they inform each other’s decisions, resulting in efficient planning and execution that can shave tens of thousands off the project budget.

Labor and materials make up a substantial portion of every project’s budget, and are reduced using the Design-Build approach. Because the project is completed faster, you, as the owner, can get to business sooner.

4. Minimized Risk

A Design-Build contractor establishes one entity, which takes responsibility for the following:

  • Estimation
  • Assessments
  • Pre-construction
  • Schematics
  • Engineering
  • Subcontracting
  • Construction
  • Post-construction

By shouldering all the responsibility and contractual risk, Design-Build contractors give you the peace of mind of knowing that should an issue pop up, it will be handled quickly and amicably. This is in contrast to Design-Bid-Build projects, where architects and general contractors frequently bicker with one another.

5. Minimized Litigation Claims

One of the most common legal issues on construction projects are lawsuits against the architecture and engineering firm, usually filed by the general contractor. These create headaches for the owner or developer of the project, who must wait for the disputes to be settled, with the entire project hanging in the balance.

However, according to a study conducted by insurer Victor O. Schinnerer, only 1.3 percent of claims against architecture and engineering firms between 1995 and 2004 were made by Design-Build contractors.

There is ample evidence to demonstrate that the Design-Build approach to building your dental or medical office will yield the best results, at the best price, with little risk. If you decide to take this approach, be sure to look for a contractor with proven credentials, experience, expertise, and staff.

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