By Evan Williams, Cambridge Companies

The process of conceptualizing, designing, and constructing a project is a complex and sometimes confusing series of tasks that rely on one another.

As an owner, you may or may not have familiarity with these processes. Understanding these processes can help you know what to expect and have a better ability to plan accordingly.

Project Delivery

The type of construction project has a bearing on how the project will be structured. In a Design/Build project, the construction partner develops the bid packages. They will leverage their experience in construction and work in coordination with the design team to assemble:

  1. The bid packages
  2. Address any questions from the bidders
  3. And present the bids tabulated for the owner to review.

Next, in Design/Bid/Build, the designer prepares the bid package and distributes it to general contractors.

For instance, as an owner, you need to know the critical difference between DB and DBB. The general contractor acts as a part of the project development team from day one, and in a DBB project, the general contractor gets brought in after the design is complete.

In a DB project, the feedback from the general contractor has been a part of the project development to help ensure that it aligns with the project budget, schedule, and performance objectives. Specifically, in a DBB project delivery, this is the first time the team is building the project will review plans. As the owner, you should expect significantly more questions during the bidding phase of the DBB project, as the general contractors try to understand the project and familiarize themselves with your needs. In a DB project, they are already engaged, so questions should only be from subs and should be minimal.


If the project is a traditional DBB, the architect or responsible design professional will work with you to develop:

  1. The bid package
  2. Including drawings
  3. Scope letters
  4. Instructions to bidders
  5. And other similar information.

In addition, as the owner, you need to know that these items are critical to the execution of the project. If the drawings are not complete or the bid scopes do not completely cover the work required for the project, you will be on the hook for the cost(s) to engage other contractors to cover that scope gap.

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