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What Is Design-Build?


Design–build is sometimes compared to the "master builder" or “turn key” approach, is one of the oldest forms of construction procedure. Design-build is an alternative to the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method. Under the latter approach, design and construction services are split into separate entities, separate contracts, separate work.


Streamlining project delivery through a single contract between the owner and the design-build team transforms the relationship between designers and builders into an alliance, which fosters collaboration and teamwork. United from the outset of every project, an integrated team readily works to successfully complete a project faster, more cost effectively and with fewer change orders.


Design-Bid-Build Elements


Critics of the design–build approach claim that design–build limits the clients’ involvement in the design and allege that contractors often make design decisions outside their area of expertise.

ACM, LLC’s Reponse: ACM, LLC’s design--build method fully embraces involving our clients. How else will we understand their needs and desires? Just as ACM, LLC has broad experiences in numerous areas of expertise, we also know when it is for our client’s best interest to bring on board those who have richer backgrounds in the selected area of need.


It is suggested that a designer—rather than a construction professional—is a better advocate for the client and/or that by representing different perspectives and remaining in their separate spheres, designers and builders ultimately create better buildings.

ACM, LLC’s Reponse: ACM, LLC has worked with numerous professionals in the various design/engineering disciplines and continues to do so. Ourselves having experience in the design, structural and construction professions, advocate the “team approach” -- having the skills, talents and abilities to work the project in unity. The team is assembled for a specific project and its requirements. All have their separate sphere, yes, but, work together in one accord sharing and supporting.


Under design–bid–build, the owner takes on significant risks because of that position.


It is considered that the design–build procedure is poorly adapted to projects that require complex designs for technical, programmatic or aesthetic purposes.

ACM, LLC’s Reponse: ACM, LLC’s experience was, has been and continues to be formed from the complex, technical, programmatic and aesthetic. Many of our clients’ projects involve such elements. Again, we have a solid background in house to address many of these concerns. Again, we know when to bring on a “team member” to tackle these challenges.


If the designer/architect is 'kept' by the construction company, he probably will never push the envelope as to what might be possible.

ACM, LLC’s Response: ACM, LLC actually advocates creativity in the technical and design elements of each project. We seek solutions, fresh ideas in product applications as well as evaluate for maintenance issues. We do not stand still always looking to improve in all areas in both service and product.


Design–build does not make use of competitive bidding where prospective builders bid on the same design.

ACM, LLC's Response: Here ACM, LLC has been on both sides. First the design and engineering application of the bidding approach. Second as the contractor trying to get the job. Both the “competitive bid” and “negotiated approach” have their place. ACM, LLC’s goal of compete service, high quality, focused performance in a timely manner qualifies for the negotiated approach. The qualities of a negotiated approach are the Client has pledged good faith and trust to ACM, LLC. In turn they are to be provided with integrity, honesty, full efforts in skills, abilities, talents and bring their rich experiences to bare by all participates.


In the “competitive bid” approach, no matter how one tries to be through and complete so the bidders (Design or Contractor) cover the project scope, its costs and quality, each bidder (Design or Contractor) will seek ways to cut cost which usually means changing the design and products in some way in order to be awarded the project. Each entity is looking out for their self. It may take renewed efforts to review all the nuances that the winning bidder has changed and be deemed acceptable or not.


This is where the client will need to be most alert and knowledgeable in working the three entities – clients place of participation, the designer and the constructor. Possible solutions are to contract with a Construction Consultant or Project Construction Management firm. But here again if they choose the competitive bid approach, it will require their knowledge of what to ask, bid and decipher the results.


During the design–build procedure, the contractor is deciding on design issues as well as issues related to cost, profits and time exigencies

ACM, LLC’s Response: ACM, LLC uses our knowledge and experience in our decision/evaluation process. We also continually seek new, updated and professional advisory input to assist our staying current and well informed in all areas related to design build. ACM, LLC is well rounded and balanced. We know our in-house skills and know when to bring in others. We deal fairly and openly with integrity.

Comparison And Merits of Design-Build Vs What Is Design-Bid-Build?


Design–build projects are delivered 33.5% faster than projects that are designed and built under separate contracts (design-bid-build). Design–build projects are constructed 12% faster. Have a unit cost that is 6.1% lower than design-bid-build projects.

Design Build Elements


  1. Design–build saves time and money for the owner.
  2. Value is added because design-build brings value engineering into the design process at the onset of a project.
  3. Design–build allows the contractor, engineers and specialty trade contractors (subcontractors) to propose best-value  solutions for various construction elements before the design is complete.
  4. Design–build places the responsibility for design errors and omissions on the design–builder, relieving the owner of major legal and managerial responsibilities. The burden for these costs and associated risks are transferred to the design–build team.
  5. Design-build alleviates conflict between architects and contractors and reduces owner risk for design errors.
  6. Design–build brings all members of a project team together early in the process to identify and address issues of cost, schedule and constructability
  7. Design–build allows owners to avoid being placed directly between the architect/engineer and the contractor.

ACM, LLC Design Build Construction Services


ACM, LLC Design Build project delivery method is a complete and efficient project solution, from the start of a project through its completion.  From initial planning and building design to construction and operations testing, each aspect of the project is planned and managed to deliver a project solution that satisfies the needs of our client in the most cost effective and time efficient manner.


Selecting ACM, LLC early in the design process, our clients gain our valuable construction experience that becomes evident throughout the planning & design, pre-construction, construction and post- construction phases.  n During the programming & design phase, ACM, LLC listens closely to our client’s needs and works to ensure that construction documents fully reflect those requirements. n The pre-construction phase is the key to project success. This is where ACM LLC’s expertise combines with clear communication between our client and design team to establish an effective approach that lays the ground work to provide optimum value for each construction dollar while creating a building project that fully meets its purpose.  To ensure that the project stays within budget, estimates are assembled to guide the schematic design, design development, and construction drawing stages.  Additional, review of proposed Value Engineering remains ongoing throughout the entire design process.


Key Benefits


Single Source Responsibility.  Rather than dealing with multiple companies and individuals, ACM, LLC is responsible for assembling a project team, providing all cost and schedule accountability and control, oversight, manage, and execution of the entire process of transforming your ideas into reality.


Effective Communication.  With Design Build services, ACM, LLC creates a partnership with our client, designers and engineers, subcontractors and major suppliers for your project.  Communication is greatly improved from day one.


Value Engineering. The most expensive, or the least expensive building component, does not always determine the best long-term value.  Through value engineering, every dollar invested in the building can be optimized.  Value engineering weighs each choice against specific needs and objectives, resulting in the selection of building materials and techniques that best meet the solution in having the desired quality, performance, and budget objectives.


Fast Track Construction. Many buildings are designed and built sequentially, with construction commencing after the design is fully complete.  With ACM, LLC’s complete delivery system, the time required to complete a project can be reduced by overlapping project tasks.


Design Build Scope Of Services


The Programming & Design And Pre-Construction Phases:


It is during the Programming & Design and Pre-Construction phases that the Project Programming and initial budget of the project will be defined. Our experience in design build construction brings a solid resource in providing information and analyzing alternatives for the architect, designer, engineers and client.  It is in working with the architect or ACM, LLC Residential Building Designer and engineers during the beginning stages that maximum values can be incorporated (i.e., space used, energy efficiency, design, mechanical systems, structural and integrity).


The assistance provided by our Design Build Team at this point includes:


Planning & Design


  • Assist the architect or ACM, LLC Residential Building Designer and engineers in defining our client’s needs, setting the project criteria and solutions and program development for both building and site.
  • Develop a Pre-Construction Schedule of activities and participates
  • Preliminary cost estimate along with value/cost analysis (value-engineering—‘VE’). Review of ‘VE’ will continue throughout the design process. Each ‘VE’ will be logged and discussed at each project meeting to evaluate its merits and fit within the established program requirements
  • Advising our client of construction methods, materials, and structural components as plans develop.
  • Assist coordination with governing agencies – Permit Acquisition
  • Liaison between client, contractor and governing agencies




  • Establish budget and assemble cost estimate.
  • Assembling of the bid package for subcontractors and suppliers.
  • Establishment of operational procedures.
  • Identification of long lead time materials and products.
  • Organization of responsibilities and work flow projections.
  • Bid results assessment and qualifying.
  • Awarding of contracts -- Once our client approves the construction documents, ACM, LLC will begin the final costing. Once our client has accepted the project, ACM, LLC will notify the selected contractor(s), issue contracts and begin the construction process.




During this phase of the project, ACM, LLC's role as General Contractor delivers the building within the approved plans, specifications, and budgets as well as liaison and coordinator for all activity involving the construction of the project.


  • Engage in the start-up/mobilization of on-site activities.
  • Leadership of the pre-construction meetings.
  • Providing oversight, construction administration and activity coordination.
  • Scheduling and conducting owner meetings. ACM, LLC usually attends the contractor’s subcontractor meetings (depending on the distance and location of the project).
  • Monitoring and maintaining construction schedules.
  • Tracking RFI, RFP and required project submittals.
  • Maintaining cost accounting and cost control records.
  • Reviewing with our client and architect, designer and engineers the monthly status reports, including:
  •     a) Cost vs. Budget.
  •     b) Construction progress vs. scheduled.
  •     c) Change order summary.
  •     d) Quality of workmanship review.
  •     e) Submitted pay requests.
  • Processing change orders.
  • Quality Control.
  • Prepare initial and progressive punch lists in advance of completion and establishing management systems for correction of any deficient work by the appropriate contractor.
  • Monitoring of inspections by the appropriate governing authorities.
  • Monitoring & coordinating adherence to safety programs requirements.
  • Coordinating all general condition items including temporary facilities.
  • Accepting delivery and arranging storage, protection, and security for all owner purchased materials, systems, and equipment.
  • Assisting the with selection of the surveyor and testing labs.


Post-Construction Services


Final Punch list development with the client and the design professionals including the correction schedule

  • Obtain and assemble our client’s Close-out Package:
  • a) All building equipment, operating manuals and warranty information, and coordinating startup of the building systems with operational personnel.
  • b) Obtaining for our client As-built drawings from ACM, LLC or architect, designer, engineer and contractors.
  • c) Coordinating contractor warranty certificates and any work as required during the warranty period.
  • Assisting our client in their project startup & commissioning of the building and occupancy transition
  • a) Equipment startup,
  • b) Systems operations through the appropriate suppliers and trades.
  • Finalizing accounting on construction contracts, recommending retainage release, and obtaining final lien waivers.


Design Build Construction Services Benefit Summary


Transforms the relationship between designers and builders into an alliance, which fosters collaboration and teamwork


Planning & Design


  • Reduces Client’s soft costs (architectural and engineering fees, studies, surveys, etc.) by reduction in needed documents and submittal review/processing time.
  • Reduces Client’s exposure to change orders.
  • Single point of contact, provides a blended centralized and seamless control from start to finish.
  • Significantly reduces the Client’s risk and exposure.
  • Minimizes surprises; Lets participants work with known quantities.
  • Unites project team; unifies participants toward common goals and success for all.
  • Provides maximum value for each project dollar.


Pre-Construction Phase


  • Assist ACM, LLC Residential Building Designer or Architect, Designer and Engineers in refinement of construction documents to provide higher accuracy in Project cost packages.
  • Provides ongoing systems analysis to ensure continuing optimum value.
  • Assists ACM, LLC Residential Building Designer or architect, designer and engineers project programming and scope development to ensure that Client’s needs and requirements are being met.
  • Provides budget estimates at Schematic Design, Design Development, and Construction Document Phases.
  • Manages schematic design, design development, and construction document phases.
  • Performs “Value Added, VE” analysis throughout the project development.
  • Meets with code officials prior to the start of construction to ensure that all requirements will be met.


Construction Phase


  • Manage the day to day logistics and problem solving that a project under construction can bring.
  • Manage and distribute all necessary documents to the client and all project participants doing so.
  • Assure code officials requirements are met.
  • Evaluate and compile billings from the contractor/subcontractors.
  • Constantly monitor site safety as relates to the public, working staff, and construction staff.
  • Enforce site cleanliness throughout construction.
  • Coordinate and monitor testing and inspections, special testing and inspections for items such soils, concrete, framing, welds, etc.
  • Coordinate and monitor submittal processing.


Post-Construction Services


  • Final Punch list development with client and the design professionals including the correction schedule
  • Assemble the client’s the Close-out Package:
  • a) All building equipment, operating manuals and warranty information, and coordinating startup of the building systems with operational personnel.
  • b) Obtaining for our client As-built drawings (CAD) from the architect, designer, engineer and contractors.
  • c) Coordinating contractor warranty certificates and any work as required during the warranty period.
  • Guiding our client in building startup & commissioning of the building and occupancy transition
  • a) Equipment startup,
  • b) Systems operations through the appropriate suppliers and trades.
  • Finalize accounting on construction contracts, recommending retainage release, and obtaining final lien waivers
  • Securing Building Final/Occupancy






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