Important considerations in selecting design-build as the construction method of today and the future.



  • The design/build methodology provides a client ready building in a very short time-frame (fast-track). Large sums of money can be saved by making the building available for occupancy several months earlier than would occur if complete sets of documents had to be prepared prior to bidding. Actual work can be underway even before the final figures are agreed to as long as the GMP is established.
  • Assumptions must be made without design/build. It is often assumed that all of the bidders are equally competent and equally scrupulous. Therefore, price may be the only way to distinguish amongst sub-contractors.
  • Subcontractors who are experienced in getting work through the negotiated design/build bid method "subsidize" the major portion of the client's engineering costs.
  • If design/build is not chosen, the specifications and drawings must be so tight that there is little room for differences of opinion in interpretation, possibly causing the need for extensive change orders.
  • The design/build process eliminates the "belts & suspenders" approach inherently used by design engineers to cover themselves for "E & O" exposure.

The design/build construction method provides for:

  • Total responsibility for the design, construction, and satisfactory completion of the project.
  • Solutions tailored to the owner's problems and concepts that meet the owner's goals.
  • Price testing of concepts before design changes become very expensive.
  • Guaranteed maximum price early in the process assuring that the owner will get the building he wants, as defined, at the agreed set cost.
  • Close association and coordination with all of the parties involved and a quicker response to design and/or construction problems.
  • We comply with Pennsylvania State Law ACT 367. This law also takes place in most adjacent states in simular forms.

The ever increasing popularity of the design build concept is by no means new to the Robert Ford Electric Company, as we were one of the first electrical contractors in the Philadelphia region to provide the service. Our engineering associate, Coulter Engineers, has national certification and registration which enables us to provide design/build engineering services in all 50 states. Although many firms claim to be design build contractors, Robert Ford Electric is unique. We provide our own engineered sealed drawings, backed by substantial professional liability insurance and a long history of in-house engineering capabilities.