The design-build project delivery method allows the owner to contract a single entity responsible for every element of the design and construction of the project. This single entity component is very important to the owner because the traditional design-bid-build delivery method requires the owner to contract with an architect, engineer and other parties — which means there is no single entity responsible for overseeing the entire project.

The benefits of design-build are well documented; projects are delivered faster, with higher quality, at a fixed price. According to a study conducted by Penn State, design-build projects save 6% on cost, accelerate construction speed by 12%, and increase overall project delivery speed by 33%. The University of Reading conducted the same study simultaneously in the United Kingdom and found design-build projects saved 13% cost, accelerate construction speed by 12%, and increase overall delivery speed by 30%.  While design-build may not be the appropriate delivery method for every project, it is suitable across a broad range of project types.

Another advantage of design-build from the owner’s perspective is the transfer of risk. When an owner and a design-builder come to terms and sign a contract, the risk associated with delivering the project on time and in budget shifts to the design-builder. The owner now has a firm fixed cost and the design builder is now responsible for every element required for a complete facility, including a comprehensive electrical system. This is where the design-build expertise of a contractor like Weifield becomes critical.

Weifield Group Contracting is a premier electrical contractor with offices in Centennial and Windsor, Colorado, as well as Cheyenne, Wyoming. We are focused on delivering a level of excellence that exceeds the expectations of our clients. We are design-build experts that use a multi-faceted approach to design-build projects based on the best practices of DBIA – and we routinely accept the risk associated with designing the electrical solution on behalf of our clients/owners.  Our design-build process is proactive and integrated, providing high value outcomes for our clients. 

There are many more projects well-suited for the design-build delivery method than not. The epitome of one such project that benefited greatly from the design-build approach is Weifield’s Research Support Facility (RSF) on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) Golden, CO campus. The RSF was a Net Zero Energy design-build project that had a goal to produce at least as much renewable energy as it uses in a year. The beauty of design-build lies in the team’s ability to examine several different solutions for every system and their impacts on the energy model and the project budget.

For the RSF project, the design team examined a Trombe Wall solution (a passive solar building design where a wall is built on the winter sun side of a building with a glass external layer and a high heat capacity internal layer) – but determined it wouldn’t be appropriate. The team then proposed a labyrinth under the building to pre-treat the outside air and decided the labyrinth would pay off well in terms of energy savings and cost. The analysis required to assess not only first cost but the complete life cycle cost analysis of the systems is just one of the advantages provided by the design-build process –and is critical to achieve the highest energy-efficient design. The lighting package was critical to the RSF electrical solution and at that time, the highest efficacy fixture available was 87% efficient. We teamed with a local manufacturer to produce a fixture that was 94% efficient — thereby reducing the watt density per square foot. Teaming with a fixture manufacturer and challenging the manufacturer to produce an all-new fixture focused on efficiency is only possible in the design-build arena and is a great example of the creative power inherent in the design-build process.

According to the Design Build Institute of America, a design build team should be committed to:

  1. Excellence in integrated design-build project delivery, producing high value outcomes
  2. An environment of trust characterized by integrity and honest communication
  3. Mutual respect for and appreciation of diverse perspectives and ideas
  4. A commitment to innovation and creativity to drive quality, value and sustainability
  5. Professionalism, fairness and the highest level of ethical behavior

Working with a team of dedicated professionals focused on a common goal releases the power of purpose and promotes creativity. Creativity generates original ideas that have value, break out of established patterns, and examine issues in a new way. Truly, the design-build delivery method promotes creativity and allows the participants to be all they can be. Design-build is also a very fulfilling process to engage in, personally – helping to make one’s professional life much more satisfying.

Through the utilization of these best practices, Weifield is able to address critical constructability issues, provide solutions, and estimate all cost impacts — bringing optimal results to the process.


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