Cumberland Design and Building Company, Inc.

Ancient builders were experts in project management, architectural design, and procurement of goods and services.

What it Takes

Like the “master builders” of ancient times, the design/builder’s responsibilities span the entire building process, from conception through move-in. To be effective, a design/build organization must combine strong management ability with experience in balancing good design with construction economy.

The Design/Build Method

The essence of the design/build concept is the idea that quality, completion dates and costs can be brought under control by assigning total responsibility for all these factors to one single entity: the design/builder.

Here’s how design/build works: The builder participates in the conception of the project. He has designs, working drawings and specifications prepared and then constructs the facility - all under a “single-point” responsibility contract.

As the design/builder learns about the owner’s expectations and requirements with regard to size, function, quality, time and cost, he develops a building program which includes a guaranteed maximum cost (GMAX). This GMAX is established through input from the design/builder and owner as they develop a list of needs that are then documented with drawings and specifications. The design/builder develops a strong line of communication with the owner in order to devise preliminary plans and definitions and set the tone for the working drawings. This process establishes the scope of work which is the basis for the Guaranteed Maximum Costs. The owner must insist on as much detail as he requires for his wishes and needs to be satisfied.

With the design/build process, the disadvantages of the traditional competitive bidding process are eliminated, but the advantages are retained.

The disadvantages of the traditional competitive bidding process are eliminated, but the advantages of bidding are retained. When the owner and design/builder work together on a “cost-plus” basis, materials and subcontracted work are bid out competitively and all costs are fully disclosed. The advantages of negotiating a GMAX instead of leaving costs to the vagaries of the traditional bidding process are numerous. Costs are established at the beginning of the project, and controlled from there forward.