Design and Construct – also known as D&C or Design and Build – is a procurement path where a single entity coordinates the project, from the initial design concept right through to the last temporary fence panel being taken away.
Design and Construct is especially beneficial for specialist projects, such as shade and shelter construction, as it engages the most experienced people in the design process and ensures the outcome hits both your budget and aesthetic. With a trusted and experienced D&C partner, this procurement path is the easiest way to balance the often-conflicting aspects of a project: time, cost, and quality.
It eliminates the disconnection and communication barriers that occur when using multiple consultants and contractors throughout the process. With the entire team inhouse – from designers and architects through to engineers, builders, plumbers and electricians – everyone starts on the same page: increasing the ability to meet both budget and for the final design to be realised without any major expensive or disappointing changes.
In traditional tender-style procurement, the architect may design a structure which is aesthetically stunning. However this often happens without consulting a builder, meaning there is no one to ensure that your vision is going to be buildable or cost effective.
The benefit of using a single consultant is that they are motivated to achieve the best value outcome right from the start, because they take responsibility for all aspects of the project (design, engineering, and construction).
Design and Construct companies use a huge range of suppliers like architects, engineers, lighting specialists, plumbers, concreters, synthetic turf providers, AV equipment providers and other specialists depending on the scope of the project. The benefit of this is they know the current market value of these services, as well as the most reliable contractors to use – ensuring you get the best quality workmanship at the best price.
Design and Construct is the fast-track procurement path. In traditional tender-style procurement, you would need to coordinate each phase of the project yourself. This would begin with a shade consultant or designer, then an architect, then a builder and multiple tradespeople. Between every step of the project, there is handover time (from you to the architect, architect to engineer, from engineer to builder).
The benefit of D&C is that there is just one handover, as you have one point of contact for the whole project. This drastically reduces the time the project takes to complete, as well as minimising the time you spend working on the project.
Keep in mind that your time will still be required for site meetings to ensure that the outcome you get is exactly what you had envisioned.
The D&C process minimises risk in multiple ways.
Firstly, your D&C consultant will likely have a broad range of suppliers that they have used many times on projects similar to yours. This means reliable contractors with the right experience can be selected to work on your project. This minimises the risk of onsite issues like injuries and downtime, as well as ensuring the highest quality project outcome.
The D&C procurement process also reduces the risk of misunderstandings between parties by giving you a single point of contact for all aspects of the project. Misunderstandings caused when a message is passed through multiple consultants can lead to delayed timelines, duplication of work, or even the wrong project outcome that doesn’t meet your needs and/or vision for your space.
Traditional procurement paths like tendering can look like a lower risk option, as you spread your risk over multiple contractors/suppliers. However, D&C means there’s just one set of contractual terms to be agreed to upfront, and it gives you the advantage of having just one butt to kick. If something goes wrong – it is their responsibility to fix the problem.
With fewer parties involved than in traditional quote/tender processes, you maintain the ability to adjust your scope faster and more cost effectively than when independent architects and engineers are involved.
In a standard quote/tender process, the design is finalised, then a scope is written, then builders quote on that scope. If something in the scope needs to be adjusted, that change must be fed back up the chain, always costing you time and often costing you money.
With D&C, the need for adjustment is often reduced, and if it is needed your consultant has the design/plans, and is carrying out the construction work, so that change can be made immediately without slowing the project down unnecessarily.
More than anything, you want your project to turn out exactly as you had imagined it, and to have it fit your needs and budget. No one knows the design like the designers. Design and Construct ensures that the initial design you agree to is exactly what is delivered.
When you choose the D&C procurement path, you gain access to a wealth of design experience and knowledge specific to the construction of shade and shelter. Constructing shade is a niche industry, and not all architects, engineers, and builders have worked on projects like this. Working with a shade D&C consultant ensures that contractors chosen to work on your project will be people with relevant industry experience.
Not only will your consultant be able to bring your project to life as you imagine it, but they may be able to add valuable suggestions and insight to the project with their past experience. You could end up with a project that is more functional and makes even better use of your space than what you originally had in mind.
Until you have discussed your ideas with someone who has ‘been there, done that’ it is hard to tell just what is possible to achieve in your space!
To kick this process off, you meet with a D&C consultant to discuss your vision for the project. This discussion will cover the type and style of structure you want, the problems you need it to solve, the challenges the project presents, your budget, your timeline, and anything else relating to the project so that we have a clear understanding of the outcome you are looking to achieve and any barriers you face.
Next, the consultant works with an architect, designer and builder to come up with multiple potential options that solve your problems and meet your vision. Once the chosen design meets your needs perfectly, your consultant will then start construction, using their building and trade contractors to bring your vision to life.
Design and Construct has been used by independent schools, Catholic schools, and Government schools (through AMU and VSBA), as well as councils, sports clubs, and shopping centres across NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
Schools and organisations have many factors to consider – and boxes to tick – when they choose the best procurement path. One point which is consistent across all these clients is that they must ensure that the method and contractor they select provides value for money. This is often the reason a tender or quote process is followed. However, we believe that the benefits of D&C over traditional tender processes will always provide the best value for money.