Project Delivery Systems: Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build and Construction Management at Risk


The need to improve efficiency, productivity and profitability has been a growing concern in the construction industry. Dodge Data & Analytics has conducted research on critical trends in the buildings sector that address these issues, such as the use of building information modeling (BIM), the rise in information mobility and the implementation of Lean construction practices. This study explores the impact of one of the most fundamental ways in which project owners can impact efficiency, productivity and profitability: the selection of a project delivery system.

The findings demonstrate that there is no clear, simple recommendation for the use of a specific delivery system. However, architects, contractors and owners each see value in all three of the established project delivery systems analyzed in this study:

  • Design-Bid-Build: 38% of architects and 22% of contractors find this to be the best system to reduce project costs
  • Design-Build: 43% of architects and 50% of contractors find this to be the best system to reduce project schedule, and a higher percentage of owners using this method report projects finishing ahead of schedule than with the other two systems
  • Construction Management at Risk: A higher percentage of owners doing projects that employ this system find that their projects are under budget (33%), and 60% report being very satisfied with the projects they have conducted, which is at least 20% higher than those using design-bid-build or design-bid project delivery systems

This report examines the degree to which three existing project delivery systems — design-bid-build, design-build and construction management at risk (CM-at-risk)—are being used in the buildings sector. It reveals how owners, architects and contractors perceive the benefits, drivers and obstacles for each delivery system. In addition, the report explores the awareness, use, benefits and drivers for two emerging delivery systems—integrated project delivery and design-build-operate/maintain.

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