The Ultimate Guide to Design Build Services for Property Developers

May 16, 2024 | Blog

The landscape of commercial construction is evolving, and at the heart of this transformation is the design build services approach. This innovative method streamlines the construction process, making it a pivotal choice for property developers seeking efficiency, quality, and seamless execution.

With the rise of companies like South Coast Improvement Company (SCI), which offers comprehensive design-build services, property developers now have access to solutions that promise to revolutionize how projects are delivered.

seven construction workers standing on white field

Understanding the Basics of Construction

At the foundation of every successful property development project lies a solid understanding of construction basics. The construction process encompasses a broad range of activities and requires meticulous planning, execution, and management to ensure success.

It involves several critical stages, including initial concept development, detailed design, procurement of materials and labor, actual construction, and final inspections. Each of these phases requires a deep understanding of engineering principles, building laws, safety regulations, and effective project management techniques.

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By grasping these fundamentals, property developers and owners can better appreciate the advantages of the design-build approach, which integrates the design and construction phases under a single contract, thereby streamlining the entire project lifecycle and mitigating risks associated with cost overruns and delays, plus design build teams are better at solving problems.

The Basics of the Construction Process Explained

Breaking down the construction process into its fundamental steps can provide clarity and improve project outcomes.

Here’s a simplified overview of the key phases:

Concept and Feasibility Analysis

This initial phase is where ideas are born and assessed for their feasibility. It involves evaluating the proposed project’s potential, including financial viability, market demand, and overall impact.

Design and Planning

In this critical stage, architects and engineers create detailed designs and plans for the project. This phase includes architectural drawings, structural plans, and the development of specifications for materials and systems.

Permitting and Approvals

Before any construction begins, the project must receive all necessary permissions from local authorities. This involves submitting detailed plans and ensuring compliance with zoning laws, building codes, and other regulatory requirements.


With designs in hand and permissions secured, the next step is procuring the materials, equipment, and labor necessary to bring the project to life. Effective procurement strategies are crucial for keeping the project on budget and on schedule.


The actual construction phase involves the physical building of the project, adhering closely to the plans and specifications developed earlier. This stage requires careful coordination of labor, materials, and equipment.

Quality Control and Testing

Throughout the construction process, rigorous quality control and testing are essential to ensure that the work meets or exceeds the project’s specifications and standards.

Post Construction Final Inspections and Closeout

Before the project can be deemed complete, final inspections are carried out to ensure all work complies with local building codes and regulations. Following approval, the project is formally closed out, and any necessary documentation is handed over to the owner.

Understanding each of these stages in detail allows property developers to better manage their projects, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.

gray concrete building under construction

Design Build Services vs. Design Bid Build Services: The Basics

When navigating the complexities of commercial construction, property developers face a critical decision in choosing between the design-build and the design-bid-build delivery methods.

Both approaches have their unique advantages and implications for project management, cost, and timeline.

Design Build Services

The design build services approach integrates both the design and construction phases of a project under a single contract with one entity.

This method promotes collaboration between the design team and construction team from the outset, potentially leading to more innovative solutions, accelerated project timelines, and controlled costs. With a unified team working towards the same goal, communication is streamlined, reducing misunderstandings and the likelihood of project delays.

Design Bid Build

Conversely, the design-bid-build method involves a sequential process where the design phase is completed independently by an architect or engineering firm, and then bids are solicited from contractors to execute the construction.

This traditional approach allows property developers to have more control over the design and ensures that construction bids are competitive. However, it may result in longer project durations and the possibility of increased costs due to discrepancies between the design and construction phases leading to change orders.

Deciding between design build and design-bid-build requires a careful consideration of the project’s specific needs, the developer’s level of expertise, and the desired level of involvement in the construction process.

Each method offers distinct advantages that can significantly impact the success of a property development project.

man in yellow shirt and blue denim jeans jumping on brown wooden railings under blue and

A Deeper Understanding of the Design Build Method

Design build services contrasts sharply with the traditional design bid build method, where design and construction services are split between separate entities, often leading to an adversarial relationship with conflicts and inefficiencies.

Design build services, however, merges these phases under a single contract, providing a unified workflow that fosters collaboration and innovation. For property developers, this means having one point of responsibility, which simplifies communication and accelerates project timelines.

The advantages of design build services are manifold. They include streamlined project schedules, cost savings, and improved risk management. By choosing a design build services approach, developers can avoid the adversarial relationships that sometimes emerge between architects and builders in traditional setups.

Instead, they benefit from a team that works synchronously towards the project’s goals, ensuring a harmonious and productive construction process.

a group of tall buildings under a cloudy blue sky

The Construction Process in Design Build

The design build process is characterized by several key phases: pre-construction, design, and construction. At SCI, the approach begins with a deep understanding of the client’s vision, followed by meticulous planning and execution.

During the pre-construction phase, SCI focuses on detailed planning and feasibility studies, which are crucial for identifying potential challenges and opportunities early on.

The design phase involves creating preliminary drawings and refining them into a final design. This collaborative effort between the design and construction teams ensures that the architectural design is both aesthetically pleasing and practical to build.

The construction phase then proceeds with a clear roadmap, guided by the comprehensive project schedule developed earlier. This cohesive process results in efficient construction schedules, high-quality outcomes, and cost-effective solutions.

The Construction Process in Design Build Projects Broken Down

The construction process under the design build model unfolds through a series of interconnected phases, each critical to the successful delivery of the project. =’

Here, we detail the key stages that embody this approach:

Client Consultation and Brief

The process begins with an in-depth consultation to understand the client’s vision, objectives, and specific needs.

This initial discourse is foundational, setting the tone for the project’s direction.

Project Feasibility and Scope Definition

Early assessments of project feasibility help in outlining the scope, budgetary considerations, and potential constraints. This stage is vital for setting realistic expectations and project boundaries.

Preliminary Design and Conceptualization

With the project’s parameters defined, the focus shifts to preliminary design efforts.

This phase involves generating concepts that reflect the client’s vision while adhering to practical and regulatory constraints.

Integrated Design and Planning

Bridging the gap between concept and reality, this stage sees the integration of architectural design with engineering inputs.

The outcome is a detailed plan that serves as a blueprint for construction, ensuring all elements are harmonized.

Regulatory Approvals and Permits

Before any ground is broken, the project needs to clear regulatory hurdles and secure necessary permits.

This step is crucial to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.

Construction and Project Management

With all approvals in place, construction begins, overseen by a dedicated project management team.

This phase is marked by meticulous coordination of resources, materials, and labor to bring the project to life according to plan.

Quality Assurance and Control

Throughout the construction phase, ongoing quality assurance and control measures are employed.

These practices ensure that the project’s execution meets the high standards expected in a design build framework.

Commissioning and Handover

Once construction is complete, the project undergoes commissioning to ensure all systems and components function correctly.

The final step is the handover to the client, marking the transition from construction to occupancy and use.

Each of these phases represents a critical component of the design build construction process, illustrating the model’s comprehensive and client-centered approach to project delivery.

five yellow hard hats on gray surface

Benefits of the Design Build Project Delivery Method

The design build project delivery method stands out for its streamlined approach to construction projects, offering several distinct benefits over traditional methods.

These advantages include:

  • Single Point of Responsibility: By consolidating the design and construction responsibilities under one roof, clients enjoy a simplified communication pathway, making it easier to address concerns and make decisions swiftly.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: The integrated project team works together from the project’s onset, promoting a collaborative environment that often leads to innovative solutions and a more cohesive project vision.
  • Cost Efficiency: Early involvement of the construction team in the design process allows for a better quality estimation of project costs. Additionally, this method can reduce the likelihood of costly changes and disputes by nearly half.
  • Time Savings: The concurrent design and construction phases can overlap, permitting a faster project completion time. This overlap of design build teams and construction teams reduces downtime and accelerates the overall timeline.
  • Improved Risk Management: With a unified team, risk is collectively managed and mitigated more effectively. The design builder assumes the majority of risks, including cost overruns and managing the subcontracting chain, offering greater peace of mind to the client.
  • Quality Control: The design build model fosters a higher standard of quality assurance, as the team’s unified goal is the project’s success. With a single entity overseeing both design and construction, there’s a coherent focus on quality throughout the project lifecycle. This single source responsibility means one contract, on team of design builders, and the progress of the contractor and designers show fewer problems.
  • Customized Solutions: The integrated approach allows for more flexibility in adapting the design during the construction process. This adaptability ensures that the final product is closely aligned with the client’s requirements and expectations.

Each of these benefits underscores why the design build method is increasingly preferred for a variety of construction projects, from commercial to residential developments.

If you’re on a strict construction schedule, don’t want separate contracts, and want the best value for you money, choose design build for your next construction project.

people working on building during daytime

Design Build Projects: Delivering Value and Quality Through Design Build Services

SCI’s portfolio showcases a wide range of successful design build projects across sectors such as healthcare, office buildings, education, hospitality, and other commercial real estate development facilities.

Each project underscores the company’s commitment to deliver superior quality and value.

For instance, the Residence at Great Woods LCB Senior Living project, which earned a 2022 Bronze Award from the Design Build Institute of America, exemplifies SCI’s ability to blend innovative design with functional construction solutions.

gray building crane photo during sunset

Building with Design Build Services: Key Considerations

When selecting a design build team, developers should consider factors like experience, expertise, and the ability to communicate effectively.

SCI’s track record of nearly 90% repeat business speaks volumes about their professionalism and the quality of their work.

Furthermore, addressing common misconceptions about design build services, such as concerns about creativity limitations, is vital. In reality, the collaborative nature of design build often enhances creative problem-solving and innovation.

yellow crane near building during daytime


For property developers, the choice of construction method can significantly impact the success of their projects. The design-build approach, with its emphasis on collaboration, efficiency, and singular responsibility, offers a compelling alternative to other construction methods.

Companies like South Coast Improvement Company are at the forefront of this shift, providing property developers with the expertise and solutions needed to bring their visions to life.

By embracing design-build services, developers can ensure their projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the highest quality standards.

Interested in exploring design-build services for your next project? Reach out to South Coast Improvement Company for a consultation and discover how they can help you achieve your project’s goals with efficiency and excellence.


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