Construction Contracting Methods

Construction Contracting Methods: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Project

Construction projects require careful planning and execution to ensure their success. One of the critical aspects of any construction project is the choice of contracting method. Different contracting methods offer varying degrees of control, risk, and flexibility. In this article, we will explore the different construction contracting methods to help you make an informed decision for your project.

Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

Design-Bid-Build, also known as the traditional method, is the most commonly used contracting method in the industry. It involves three main phases: design, bidding, and construction. In this approach, the owner hires an architect or engineer to design the project. The owner then puts the project out for bids from contractors, who submit their proposals based on the project specifications. Once the bid is accepted, the contractor is responsible for the construction and delivery of the project.

DBB is a straightforward approach that provides the owner with total control over the design and bidding process. However, it also requires the owner to bear the risk of any design or construction errors.

Design-Build (DB)

Design-Build is a contracting method that combines both the design and construction phases into one contract. In this approach, the owner selects a single entity to design and construct the project. This entity, known as the design-builder, assumes full responsibility for the project from start to finish.

Design-Build offers several benefits, including a streamlined process, reduced project costs, and faster delivery. The owner has a single point of contact, eliminating the need to manage multiple parties. However, the owner may have less control over the design and construction process in this approach.

Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR)

Construction Manager at Risk is a contracting method that involves hiring a construction manager to oversee the project`s design and construction phases. The construction manager is responsible for providing input during the design phase and managing the project`s construction during the build phase.

In this approach, the owner and the construction manager work together to manage the project`s budget and schedule. The construction manager assumes the risk for any issues that arise during the construction phase.

CMAR provides the owner with increased control over the project`s design and budget. However, it can also be more expensive due to the added cost of hiring a construction manager.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)

Integrated Project Delivery is a collaborative contracting method that involves all project stakeholders, including the owner, architect, contractor, and subcontractors. This approach seeks to eliminate traditional barriers between different parties and promotes collaboration and communication throughout the project.

In IPD, all parties work together from the project`s inception to delivery, sharing risks, rewards, and responsibilities. This approach can result in reduced project costs, improved quality, and faster delivery times.

However, IPD requires a high level of trust and collaboration among all parties involved, making it best suited for complex projects.


Choosing the right contracting method for your construction project can be daunting but is essential for achieving a successful outcome. Each contracting method offers different advantages and disadvantages. It is crucial to evaluate each option carefully to select the one that aligns best with your project`s goals and objectives. Working with a professional and experienced team can help ensure that your construction project runs smoothly and is completed on time and within budget.