Design And Build Type Construction Projects Construction Essay

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Design and Build is not a new phenomenon, this type of procurement method has been with us since medieval times. According to Jeffrey L. Beard et al, when Ictinus and Callicrates built the Parthenon, the master builder and master mason provided both a design and build service, to provide one without the other was unknown. Design and Build Contracts have been described as an arrangement between a contracting organisation and a client, where the contractor takes full responsibility for the design and construction of a project. The industrial revolution of the 18th Century in Europe and the 19th Century in the United States of America brought about the separation of these two key elements of a design and build contract. This led to the introduction of what we know today as the traditional design/bid then build method of procurement. The design/bid then build approach of construction procurement is where the client engages an architect who in conjunction with a structural engineer prepares the design, drawings and specification for a project. The design complete with drawings and specification are then issued to several contractors for pricing. Generally the contractor with the lowest price is then selected to build the project, but sometimes this is not always the case.

According to the Haskell Company (No Date), "Cost and time factors initiated the resurgence of the master builder approach. Since the 1960's, the percentage of Design-Build projects has increased dramatically. Today, non-residential Design-Build volume represents half of all construction in the United States of Amercia. The reason for this increase is simple; the Design-Build process provides a unique set of client advantages not available in any other delivery system". According to a report prepared by Handscomb ( 2004); "Design and build has shown a steady market penetration in some countries. In the United States of America and the United Kingdom, it has grown from less than 10 percent in the early 1980's to more than 30 percent today".

Prior to coming to the Middle East region in 2007, I was extensively involved in Design and Build type construction projects, albeit using the various different forms of the Design and Build Contract that are in circulation today; for example the Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs-Conseils (commonly known as "FIDIC") and the Joint Council Tribunal (UK) (commonly known as "JCT") have published their own editions of this type of Contract. The general principle behind all of these contracts is that the Employer has a single point of contact and that the Design and Build Contractor accepts total responsibility for both the design and construction of a project. Since arriving in the region and having worked in Oman, Bahrain & the United Arab Emirates, it is evident that the traditional (design, bid then build) type of Construction procurement method is extensively used, with little evidence of the design and build contract being utltised.

The region is synonymous for mega construction projects and could benefit from other forms of procurement strategies such as design and build. So why are not using this delivery method more? Similarly the employers in this region are notorious for setting ambitious time scales for the delivery of their projects. From my experience and initial research, it is generally accepted that the design/build contracting procurement strategy would help them save both time and cost and full fill their requirements for fast track projects.

If the industry and professionals within this region is to better understand the benefits of a design and build procurement method (either from a client and/or contractors perspective); then they must get a better appreciation of the different forms of design and build contracts that are currently in existence today, and where they are best used. Furthermore, both the contractor and client also need to get a better appreciation of the advantages and disadvantages of the different design and build contracts if we are to use this delivery method more within the Middle East.

Therefore, in this dissertation, the writer will attempt to answer some of the questions raised earlier in this introduction, particularly for those in the Middle region that may be interested at looking for alternatives. In addition to this, the writer will attempt to provide an insight into the views and perception of other construction professional within the region regarding the design and build procurement method.


At the end of the research it is expected to arrive at the following conclusion:

Design and Build Contracts are not necessarily suited for every construction project; each and every project will have a unique requirement. However with education; the industry as a whole in the region could potentially benefit from this procurement method.

People in the construction industry within the region do not like leaving their comfort zones and are less likely to promote change and innovative ideas which may include the use of alternative methods of procurement for Construction projects such as design and build.

3.0 AIMS

There are two main aims for this research project. Firstly to identify what the benefits of design and build construction procurement method is to us here in the Middle East.

Secondly, to gauge what the overall consensus is on whether there is a future for the design and builds procurement method here in the Middle East.


To compare and contrast the traditional design/bid and then build type of delivery method with the design and build method.

To critically analyse the benefits of a design and build construction procurement method.

To identify the various types of the design and build construction procurement methods and identify where they are best used.

To ascertain the feelings and attitudes of the construction professionals in the Middle East region to the design and build procurement method and to gauge whether there is a future for this procurement method.


What is Research?

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines research as "a careful search or inquiry; endeavour to discover new or collate old facts etc. by scientific study of a subject; course of critical investigation"

Research Strategy

Naoum (2007) has defined research strategy as "the way in which the research objective can be questioned".

Research strategies can be broadly classified into two groups;

Quantitative research

Qualitative research

Quantitative research

Naoum (2007) suggests that Quantitative research is "objective" in nature and is used to measure how people feel, think or act in a particular way. This research focuses on gathering numerical data across a group of people. Quantitative research can be used for the following circumstances.

To collect factual evidence and study the relationship between these facts in order to test a particular theory or hypothesis.

To find facts about a concept, a question or an attribute.

In the context of research, the objective is to test or verify a theory rather than develop one.

Qualitative research

Naoum (2007) also suggests that Qualitative research is "subjective" in nature and can be divided into two main subcategories;

Exploratory Research - This research method is used when we have a limited amount of knowledge about the selected topic. The interview technique is usually selected as a method of data collection.

Attitudinal Research - This research method is used to evaluate the opinion, view or the perception of a person towards a particular subject.

This research method seeks out the 'why' and not 'how'. This type of research doesn't just rely on statistics or numbers, which are the domain of quantitative research.


The research data necessary to complete this dissertation will be obtained from primary and secondary sources providing qualitative and quantitative information. The primary data will be obtained through a questionnaire and the secondary data through a literature review.

Literature Review

The fundamental reason for choosing this method of research is that it will enable the writer to collect empirical data that will enable them to compare and contrast the traditional design/bid and then build type of contract with the design and build contract. In addition to this, the empirical data will enable the writer to critically analysis the benefits of the design and build contract, as wells as the identification of the different variants of the design and build and where they are best used.

The literature review will obtain information published by industry journals, industry web sites and academic text books. Any other relevant and/or pertinent information will be obtained through the internet.

Naoum (2007) confirms that for a successful literature review, consideration must be given to the following:-

Knowing the sources of information: Identification of the appropriate literature which maybe from primary sources (academic research journals, theses, reports, and government publications), and/or secondary sources (text books, trade journals, newspapers), and/or reference guides (dictionaries, encyclopaedias).

Primary literature is acknowledged as being the most accurate source of information.

Understanding how the library works: Bell (1996) listed three important points that you need to bear in mind while conducting a literature research (How to find relevant published material quickly, avoid getting bogged down, recording information derived from reading)

Note-taking: Dunleavy (1988) comments that, when undertaking taking a literature review, one needs to get away from focusing too single-mindedly on what the author is trying to say, and instead focus on what you are trying to get out of a source.

Systematically organisation of the literature: Align the literature gathered and to file according to the chapters of the dissertation for future ease of reference.

Appraising and writing up the literature review: Upon concluding the literature review, only then will we be able to critically review the contributions of other people work to the subject area.

Both primary and secondary literature sources will be reviewed and the appropriate notes and data will be systematically kept in a literature file. Due to the geographical constraints of living in the Sultanate of Oman and the relatively high cost of traveling to the United Kingdom which would be needed to undertake a extensive literature review, the majority of the literature review will be done via the internet. Here a detailed search of journals, research reports, newspapers and magazines will be carried out to locate the established information needed to undertake this section of the dissertation.


One of the main reasons for undertaking a questionnaire is they are suited to the gathering of mass information and opinions at a minimal cost (Naoum - 2007). Another reason for selecting a questionnaire is that it is an ideal method for collecting both Qualitative and Quantitative information from respondents.

A draft questionnaire will be produced and piloted in order to check that it will work successfully. The final questionnaire will primarily use closed questions in order to obtain both qualitative and qualitative data. The questionnaire will be targeted at the white collar construction professionals with within the Middle East. These individuals should be from Employers, Developers, Consultants and Main Contractors organisations in order to obtain a broad and balance views from the majority of the stakeholders in a project.

Example Questions

Which one of these construction procurement methods do you think is the most extensively used in the Middle East?







Traditional (Design/Bid/Construct)

Design & Build

Specification & Drawing

Target Costt

Cost +


Which one of these construction procurement methods do you prefer?







Traditional (Design/Bid/Construct)

Design & Build

Specification & Drawing

Target Cost

Cost +


A questionnaire will allow the writer to gauge the general perspective of the construction professionals in the Middle East region as to the future of the design and build procurement method in this region.

The information provided by respondents in the context of this dissertation will be considered to be reliable because it will be from a diverse array of construction personnel and will be from different geographical areas within the Middle East.

In the event that the responses to the questionnaire fall below 40% after 4 weeks of issuing the questionnaire, then the contingency plan will be to supplement the questionnaire with interviews, albeit these interviews will be structured around the questionnaire.


As stated above, in the event that the response rate to the questionnaire is below 40%, a series of face to face interviews will be held with a number of key people within the industry albeit within the Sultanate of Oman, preferably from a diverse range of disciplines i.e. Contractors, Developers and Consultants. The interviews will be structured around the questionnaire to help supplement the data gathered from the emailed questionnaire. If necessary, telephone interviews will be arranged with colleagues in order to supplement the data collect from the emailed questionnaire. Interviews are considered a great technique for gathering factual information as well as opinions.

Data Analysis

The data received from the respondents and/or if interviewee's will be collated and analysed using the descriptive statistic method. Where appropriate bar charts and/or histograms will be used to present the data gathered from the questionnaire and/or interviews. Each question and/or where necessary a group of questions will be accompanied with the appropriate narrative and analysis.

Reliability of Data

Walliman (2005) wrote that data can be misleading because it is elusive and ephemeral, In other words, the data collected from a respondent at any point in time may only be representative of a respondents mind set on a particular day, and at a particular moment in time. If the respondent is again asked the same question one month later, you may find their answer different to the answer obtained earlier.


To help overcome the practice of "selective bias" (Torgerson & Torgerson 2003), the questionnaire will be sent to a number of nationalities (Italian, French, India, Sri Lankan, Bahraini, Omani, Filipino). To a large extent, this will hopefully eradicate the potential for "selective bias".

Limitations of Survey

Due to the relatively small numbers of participants in the proposed survey, the results of the final report may not be a true and accurate reflection of the construction professionals in the Middle East region as a whole. This may be further compounded if the responses to the questionnaire are relatively low. However, for the purpose of concluding this dissertation, the results of this survey will be deemed to be a true representation of the thoughts and perceptions of a diverse array of professionals who live in different geographical areas within the Middle East.

Ethical Consideration

In the covering email and/or letter that will accompany the questionnaire, each of the participants will be advised of the nature and/or the purpose of my research. Furthermore, the writer will ask each participant to obtain the consent of their manager to participate in the survey if they have any uncertainty whatsoever. The writer will also confirm in the covering email that the information provided by the respondents will remain confidential. For the purpose of this dissertation, "confidentiality" is taken to mean that the participant will not be identifiable in any way by a reader of the final report or dissertation. Furthermore, it will be made clear to the participants that they can with draw from the survey ant any time and their response will be destroyed accordingly.


One of the main purposes of the literature review is to compare and contrast the traditional form of contracts with the design and build contract. In addition to this, the literature review will also seek to critically analyse the design and build form of contract as well as determine where best the design and build form of contract should be used and each of these points are briefly discussed below:-

Compare and Contrast the Traditional Vs. Design and Build

Shapiro Hankinson & Knutson Law Corporation (no date) describes a traditional contract as an arrangement that involves three parties i.e. the client, the designer and the contractor. The client appoints the designer to prepare drawings and specifications. These contract documents inclusive of the drawings and specification when complete are issued to various contractors for pricing. Normally the lowest priced contractor is appointed to construct the project according to the design plans and specifications.

Shapiro Hankinson & Knutson Law Corporation (no date) also describes a design and build contract as an arrangement where the client enters in to a single agreement with the design and build contractor. The design/build contractor performs both the design and construction of the project. The client sets out their requirements in a document called the employers requirements. This document must clearly set out any performance standards, aesthetic and functional requirements for the proposed project. Furthermore, this document must also identify any specific requirements in relation to the project.

Critical Analysis of the Design and Build Contract.

The arguments for Design and Build Contract are (Pro's):-

Ndekugri and Turner (1994) suggests that the use of design and build is on the increase with many clients perceiving it as providing better value for money and giving rise to less disputes than other procurement methods.

Saxon (2000) argues that integration of design and construction offers better performance in time and cost and results in less defects.

Adams (1999) confirms that the majority of clients regard design and build as the optimum route to obtain value for money.

Smit (1995) suggests that the popularity of design and build arises from its perceived ability to bring design and construction processes closer together culturally.

Hughes (1992) argues that Design & Build offers a high degree of cost certainty, encourages economical solutions, and enables value to be considered as well as price.

Similarly the argument against the Design and Build Contract are (Con's):-

Appelbaum et al (2012) argues that "the principal disadvantage of traditional design-build is that the owner loses control of the design process, since the design professional's primary legal and practical allegiance is to the design-builder rather than the owner. This can create severe conflicts of interest during both the design phase and construction administration".

Hanscomb (2004) confirms that one of the disadvantages of a design and build arrangement is that disputes often occur when the employer requirements are not specific enough and left open to the interpretation of the parties

SchiffHardin LLP (n.d), states that due to the specialised nature of the design and build arrangement, the client may find it difficult to obtain competitive quotations.

The different types of the Design and Build Contract.

The forms of design and build that will be discussed in this study will be a combination of the hybrids identified by Rowlinson (1987) and Akintoye (1994).

Akintoye (1994) identifies the following six forms of design and build;

traditional design and build

develop and construct.

design and manage

design, manage and construct

novation design and build

package deal (including turnkey)

Rowlinson (1987) identifies three broader types thus;

pure design and build

integrated design and build

fragmented design and build.


The whole purpose of this dissertation is too:-

To provide an insight into the design and build contract, and how this form of contract procurement may benefit the Middle East in the future

To gauge the attitudes, perception and views of the construction professionals in the Middle East to the design and build contract.

To gauge whether Construction Professionals in the Middle East are open to change.