Design-Bid-Build (GC)


In this project delivery method the project is divided into two separate contractual relationships and four phases of work. The owner enters into one contract with an architectural firm, which prepares all design drawings, specification, and bid documents. The owner then enters into a second contract with a general contractor for the performance of construction work. This delivery method is used on all publicly financed projects and many large projects.

Contractor Selection Methods

The general contractor is selected through one of three methods:

  • Hard bid: The owner advertises for bidders and accepts the lowest qualified bidder.
  • Select bid: The owner selects contractors to bid on the project, often based on the architect’s recommendation, and awards the work based on the lowest qualified bid.
  • Negotiated bid: The owner negotiates with one or more contractors and selects the contractor the owner finds most appropriate for the project. Factors such as confidence, trust and relationships usually drive this decision-making process.

Four Phases

The project is carried out in four phases:

  • The owner selects an architectural firm to design the project.
  • The design firm prepares the required drawings and project specifications.
  • The design professional solicits bids and assists the owner in selecting a general contractor.
  • The project is constructed by the successful low bidder.

 Limitations of Design-Bid-Build

 Limited Control:

  • This methodology focuses on bid price, not final constructed cost, and provides the Owner limited control over cost, scope and quality once the Work has been awarded. 

 Lack of Teamwork:

  • As a result of the phased-work structure and separate contractual relationships, the project team members tend to work independently, in silos, as opposed to collaboratively.


  • This process erroneously assumes a minimum level of quality among all general and trade contractors regardless of price.
Keybuilders Construction > Services > Design-Bid-Build (GC)
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