Design and Construct Procurement System Overview


The type of procurement process used by clients and contractors influences; project time, quality of the project, and total project economy. Moreover, the type of procurement dictates the relationships of parties involved in the procurement process and the organization of project phases (Emmitt, 2007, p.31). There are several types of procurement systems namely traditional, and integrated procurement systems. The design and construct procurement process is one of the oldest systems and commonest of all integrated procurement systems.

Design and Construct procurement system

A design and construct procurement system is an integrated procurement system where the design and construction aspects of a client’s project are contracted to one organization at a lump sum fixed price (Masterman, 2002, p.40). Additionally, clients can have advisors to help in the evaluation of tenders, and to provide advice throughout the project duration. The party contracted for the design and build project may engage external parties to provide additional expertise. Design and build procurement system is also referred to as package deal.

Types of design and build procurement processes include pure, integrated, and fragmented. In pure design and build contracts are awarded to a single entity that has sufficient resources to complete the project without sourcing external expertise. Contrary, integrated build and design can source additional design expertise in order to complete their projects.

The feasibility of design and build projects is determined by the contractor’s ability to manage subcontractors during design and construction phases. Moreover, contractors can obtain price certainty before construction commences provided that the client provides adequate specification and no changes are introduced.

Moreover design and build processes reduce project time since contractors can overlap design and construction. In considering the functionality of the design and build process, it is believed that design and construction are more suitable for relatively smaller and uncomplicated projects (Masterman, 2002, p.48). Conversely, to this argument there are fairly large and complicated projects that are based on this procurement project.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Design and construct procurement system compared to other procurements methods

“Since, one organization takes design and construction roles, functional and contractual relationships among the clients, consultants and contractors are simplified” (Masterman, 2002, p.42). Generally, this procurement process simplifies the tendering process on part of clients. Primarily, design and build shorten project duration, since contractors can overlap design and construction phases, better communication, integration of design and construction and buildability (Cook, 2007, p.32). In deed, the design and construct procurement process is approximately 30% faster than the traditional procurement process and 20% faster than construction management systems (Winter, 2003, p.111).

Similarly, the design and build process is more likely to be complete in a scheduled time compared to another process. Therefore the design and build process are more cost effective since the project duration is shorter. Importantly, this method is beneficial to clients in that it has a single-point of responsibility. Single point of responsibility reduces conflicts between parties which is common in traditional procurement processes. Moreover, lump sum tendering enables contractors to execute provisional variation and valuation easily. In addition, there are lower risks of costs changes in design and construct processes.

Conversely, the design and construct procurement process has some complex processes which are potential pitfalls for clients. In addition, the design and build process is attributed to lower client satisfaction in comparison to conventional procurement methods. Notably, the novation design and build procurement process generate lower client satisfaction. It is apparent that clients who opt for the design and construct procurement process have less control or influence once the contract has been awarded. Moreover, there is no design overview unless separate consultants are appointed by clients thus adding additional costs to clients.

Preparation of Design and Build Tender

The tendering process for design and build procurement process takes the following phases; expression of interest, request for tender, preparing for tender submission, tender evaluation, post tender negotiations and awards. The tendering firm must analyze its capability of providing the client’s needs before submitting a tender for a proposed project.


In the design and construct procurement system the role of design and construction is assigned to a sole entity on a fixed lump sum. Essentially, the firms should be able to source external expertise for work their firm cannot deliver. The design and construct procurement process reduces project duration as it eliminates sequential design, tender and constructs process implemented by other procurement systems. Generally, the advantages of the design and construct procurement process are buildability, single point of responsibility and shorter project time frames. The degree of the client’s involvement is limited after the contractor has been awarded the contract. Finally, there are few firms providing design and build procurement thus there is less competition.


Cook, M., 2007. The design quality manual: improving building performance. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Emmitt, S., 2007. Design Management for Architects. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Masterman, J.W., 2002. Introduction to Building Procurement Sytem. NY: Taylor & Francis.

Winter, C., 2003. Contractor-Led Procurement: An Investigation of consequences and Circumstances. Germany: DUV.

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