What is the Difference Between Design-Build and Design-Bid-Build?

kitchen and dining room space in a home with tall ceilings

If you are planning new construction, you may have come across the terms design-build and design-bid-build. These are two different types of project delivery systems. While design-bid-build takes a conventional approach to project delivery, design-build takes a more novel, non-traditional approach to delivering construction projects.


Design-build in Sonoma County is a project delivery system in which a single company works under a single contract to offer design and construction services. A design-build firm can either be a construction firm offering design services or a design firm offering construction services. Design-build firms can be used for simple remodeling projects and complex, large-scale new construction projects.

Your design-build contractor is responsible for hiring and managing subcontractors. Many design-build firms have in-house teams of architects, designers, and engineers. The five phases of the design-build process include:

Team Selection: The project owner vets prospects. Instead of basing their decision on cost alone, project owners should select a firm that understands their vision and needs.

Pre-construction: During this phase, the contractor and subcontractors examine the project details and gather necessary information.

Architectural Design: Once the project’s scope has been clearly defined, the contractor’s team develops the best possible design.

Construction: If construction work hasn’t commenced during the design phase, it can start immediately after it.

Post-construction: Upon project completion, the design-build team holds meetings with the client to discuss deliverables and ensure that everything is as the project owner requested.

The delivery system saves project owners the hassle of communicating with different parties/subcontractors. Some benefits of design-build construction include faster project completion, improved communication between the project owner, contractor, and subcontractors, and cost savings. Due to these advantages of design-build construction, it is fast becoming the preferred project delivery system of project owners nationwide.


Design-Bid-Build is a traditional project delivery method that involves three steps – design, bid, and build. In the design phase, the project owner hires a design engineer or architect to create design documents, including schematics for mechanical, plumbing, and electrical elements for the building and a site plan.

Next, the project owner invites quotes from contractors. The lowest bidder wins the contract. Once the chosen contractor signs on the dotted line, construction work commences. The contractor is responsible for getting work done by subcontractors. They should stick to the project’s scope and ensure the project stays on schedule. If the project owner wants to change the design, they are responsible for any additional costs incurred.

Holly Construction is a renowned design-build firm in Sonoma County. Our expertise enables us to manage projects of any size. To consult one of our design-build experts, call (707) 541-0700.