At Harn R/O we have an extensive history with the Design-Build process and believe it to be one of the most effective ways for an owner to ensure they receive the quality they demand. Traditional Design-Bid-Build procurement processes often leave the critical work of properly vetting scopes to an untrained eye; and often the scope documents are left out in the cold when the low price war is waged. Ultimately the owner is left holding the bag and as the saying goes “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten”.
Alternative procurement methods such as Design-Build and Progressive Design-Build have an expanding presence in today’s marketplace. In many areas of the country some form of Design-Build has been an option to owners for years; yet elsewhere, the concept isn’t a legal form of procurement yet.
Those unfamiliar with the Design-Build process often have similar misconceptions:
The Process Presents Less Competition
Many owners fear that Design-Build reduces competition; this is simply untrue. Traditional Design-Bid-Build or other low price based procurement vehicles reduce competition to one factor – price. This hyper focus on price often eliminates those firms who are truly qualified and knowledgeable.
Design-Build allows for all competitors to be evaluated based on experience, quality, technical merit, and price. The owner is given the control to reduce the playing field based on the criteria they place value on. This type of selection process places the levers of competition in the owner's hands letting them drive the selection outcome.
The Owner Has Less Control
An owner can have as much or as little involvement in the Design-Build process as they wish. In our experience; the projects that are most successful have the most engaged owners. These owners understand the project intimately and have a direct line of communication with the project team. Unlike the straight line communication hierarchy of a traditional Design-Bid-Build project this open field of communication allows for concerns to be heard and addressed as the project progresses.
The Project will be Subject to Contractor Preference
Design-Build procurement is formulated around value-added selection criteria and not just price alone. Often there is a concern that relationships can sway favor. With a properly formulated D-B procurement favoritism is not a factor – quality, experience, and life cycle cost competitiveness are all key evaluation criteria. To this point we can say is that Harn has been a member of dozens of design build teams on projects across the country. We are a privately-owned operation with a superb reputation. We produce high quality equipment that meets the projects expectations at every turn, including value and life cycle cost savings. We have contributed our experience to both local and national firms that share the same project approach as us; and yet, we have not been selected on every design build project we have submitted for. This confirms the objectivity of the Design-Build procurement process.
Not every owner has the same selection criteria but owners should be excited by the opportunity to make critical team member selections based on what is valuable to their individual project.