By Robert C. McCue, PE, MDCSystems®


Owners and Contractors should ask the following questions and carefully consider the answers before identifying a new project as Design-Build. It seems that almost every undertaking is now labeled as Design–Build.

  1. Is this application well suited for the contract type?
  2. Does the design aspect depend on unique or specific components/systems which limit the flexibility/buildability of the project thereby removing a key attribute of the Design – Build incentives?
  3. Are the profit incentives well designed for the types of issues expected to arise on the project?
  4. Is there a formula/understanding for the allocation of losses?
  5. How are project constraints determined and allocated as to responsibility; tenant issues, occupancy, environmental restraints etc.
  6. How was the overall schedule developed considering the design progress to date, anticipated completion details and owner involvement in design decisions, value engineering and options.
  7. How was the balance between responsibility and authority over changes to the project developed and how will it be administered during the life of the project?

MDC Systems has been involved in a number of Design-Build project review and evaluation situations and has found that many of these issues are not fully considered prior to undertaking the work. In some instances this leads to a series of problems resulting in additional costs and lost time.

For more information about these issues feel free to contact MDCSystems® at


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