Project delivery method is a system used by an agency or owner for organizing and financing design, construction, operations, and maintenance services for a structure or facility by entering into legal agreements with one or more entities or parties .
All construction projects required a mixture of services, including planning, design, and construction. Construction project delivery methods consist of different ways to organize those services in order to execute a project.
While each method generally consists of an owner, a designer, and a builder, the execution of a project can differ. The steps required in a project’s journey to completion are importation to how successful the project will be. That’s why choosing the right project delivery method is a crucial step to take before construction begins.
Why Choosing the Right Delivery Method Matters?
Before launching a construction job, an owner should set course by exploring project delivery methods and selecting one that best meets its unique needs. No one model is perfect; all have benefits and drawbacks. Nonetheless, there’s most likely an optimal delivery method for your project. By choosing the right one for your project, overall risk can be reduced, and budget and schedule can be better managed.
We’re going to take a look at four of the most widely used project delivery methods in the construction industry: Design-Bid-Build, Design-Build, Construction Manager at Risk and Integrated Project Delivery.
Most widely used types of project delivery methods in Construction
This project delivery method  is the “traditional” means of delivering a construction project, and creates a clear separation between the design and construction process.
Typically the only criteria for selection of a contractor in design-bid-build (DBB) projects is the lowest construction price. To begin the DBB process, an architect or engineer (A/E) is hired by an owner to create design documents (drawings and technical specifications) for a project. In addition, the A/E will usually develop a project cost estimate and schedule. Once the design documents are completed, a Request for Bids (sometimes called a Request for Proposal) is created a released to contractors. Contractors will then evaluate the project documents and provide a price for the work. The A/E is responsible for answering bidder questions and for assisting the owner in evaluating the received bids. Once a bid is selected, the owner establishes a contract with the chosen contractor and work begins on the project.
Having been the traditional means of delivering projects, the DBB method is typically the most familiar to those in the industry. It also has, in theory, the ability to deliver a low-cost project. However, since this method isolates the contractor from the design process, there is a high potential for project cost increases due to conflicts between the design documents and the constructability of the project in the field. Also, selecting a low bidder can result in a decrease in the quality of the finished product, as the contractor must often determine ways of achieving a profit on the job, working under a budget that was the lowest of all contractors submitting pricing.
In general, the DBB process is best used on projects that are simple, that are not under a tight time crunch and that have a limited budget.
Design-Build is a method of project delivery in which one entity – the design-build team – works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services. One entity, one contract, one unified flow of work from initial concept through completion. Design-build is also known as design/construct and single-source responsibility. Across the country and around the world, design-build successfully delivers office buildings, schools, stadiums, transportation and water infrastructure projects with superior results.
Design-build is an alternative to design-bid-build. Under the latter approach, design and construction are split – separate entities, separate contracts, separate work.
Construction Manager at Risk (CMR)
When owners need a defined completion date and price, construction management at risk might be the preferred project delivery method. During project design, a construction manager acts as a consultant to the owner. Then, similar to a general contractor, the CMR manager oversees subcontractors. The CMR also accepts risk for meeting the deadline and pricing promises. In return, the owner provides a fixed or guaranteed maximum price (GMP) or payment. Like DBB, the owner only forms contracts with two parties–in this case, the designer and the CMR manager.
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD)
Integrated Project Delivery seeks to involve all participants (people, systems, business structures and practices) through all phases of design, fabrication, and construction, with the goal of improving project efficiency and reducing “waste" in project delivery (i.e. any processes that do not directly add value to the final product)  .
IPD is relatively new delivery method, having made significant inroads into the construction industry only in the last decade. In this delivery method the owner selects an Architect or Engineer and Construction Manager prior to the kickoff of project design. A joint contract is signed between the three entities after goals and objectives are established collaboratively. This delivery method incorporates early participation from the contractor, which can lead to a streamlined design that is directed specifically towards a project objectives. Similar to the CMAR process, the owner must remain highly involved in the project as a crucial member of the project team. Integrated project delivery provides opportunities for minimizing project costs and increasing efficiency through cooperation of the team members.
Factors to Consider Before Selecting a Project Delivery Method
There’s a lot to be aware of as an owner looking to develop their property – how quickly they expect completion, the price range they’re willing to pay, how involved they want to be, and how much control they want to exercise over design, subcontracting and administrative tasks.
Consider the following elements  of your own project before you decide which project delivery method to use:
The Budget: Is there wiggle room in your budget for change? How much does your software cost? This should be an iterative process with different contractors, clients and team members.
Your Relationships: Do you want to directly communicate and work with the designer, contractors, and subcontractors? Or, do you want a lower level of involvement and wish to only be involved during major conflicts? Project delivery methods can give you high levels of contact, or minimal levels depending on what you want.
Risk Level: Identify who is liable for design problems from the project’s beginning to the post-completion. Do you want to be liable for the project, or would you feel more comfortable with the risk dispersed among several contractors?
Project Timeline: Identify the speed of scheduling and associated costs required to complete the project at the required time. Make sure you have a comfortable window to meet expectations and clearly communicate when to expect completion with project team members and stakeholders.
Owner expertise: Identify how many staff members are capable to contribute to the project with the appropriate level of experience. Don’t oversell or stretch yourself too thin – that will only lead to failure down the road.
How to pick a project delivery method
Follow these four steps  to help you determine which project delivery method is right for you and your project.
Determine your project goals. Do you have specific goals related to cost, schedule, design, quality, functionality, land usage, or performance?
Outline specific constraints and factors affecting your project. These may include tight schedule, small budget, your own expertise, your availability, your preferred level of risk, and the availability of companies/firms to work with. This is your chance to assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as well as those who may form your project team.
Evaluate your constraints based on your project goals. What is most important to you and where are your biggest concerns? It might help to prioritize and rank your goals/constraints. Are you particularly worried about the project cost because you have a very ambitious budget expectation? Do you want a particular design style with a high level of detail and attention that would limit the pool of designers/architects capable of creating the design?
Review the 4 delivery methods and select the one that best aligns with your project goals, needs, and constraints.