Design-Build: Frequently Asked Questions

Design-Build: Answers to some of your FAQ’s!

Many people who have not experienced the Design-Build project delivery method have misconceptions and a general misunderstanding about how it works. It is a method we are passionate about because we have seen the vast benefits the method offers to our clients. We thought we would share some answers to your Frequently Asked Questions about Design-Build.

What is Design-Build?

Design-Build is a project delivery method where Horst works under a single contract with the Project Owner to provide design and construction services. Horst is responsible to be the Owner’s single go-to contact, coordinating all the details on the Owner’s behalf and decreasing the administrative burden for the client. Horst steps up to be the project’s leader, bringing together a team of experts from each necessary discipline. The method is marked by a streamlined collaborative process, open book communication, early and efficient planning, and a significantly decreased risk for the Project Owner.

How is Design-Build different from other project delivery methods?

Design-Build offers some unique benefits that are lost with other construction delivery methods. The primary differences are risk and responsibility for project objectives – which can have significant impacts on quality, preconstruction efficiency, cost, and schedule.

What are the benefits of Design-Build?

  • FASTER DELIVERY – collaboration + synchronous process = compressed time frame for delivery and fewer problems.
  • DECREASED ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN – Horst is responsible for contractual elements, so the Owner can focus on the project not the paperwork.
  • BETTER QUALITY – the team is held to high accountability standards and is invested in the project’s success from an early stage, leading to higher value project results and innovative thinking.
  • REDUCED RISK – Horst assumes the majority of risk by taking on accountability, contractual terms, and coordination efforts for the entire project.
  • GUARANTEED MAXIMUM PRICE – Horst provides a “GMP” so that there are no surprises and no end-of-project sticker shock.
  • OPEN BOOK POLICY – Horst provides access to the Owner for all job cost reports and information related to the project.
  • SINGULAR RESPONSIBILITY – Horst is the Owner’s go-to contact for everything related to their project.
  • SHARED COST SAVINGS – integrated team approach gives everyone the incentive to save money from day one, allowing shared cost savings for the Owner at the project’s conclusion.

Isn’t Design-Build more expensive?

Quite the contrary! It’s collaborative nature provides significant opportunity for cost savings, as the project team is created early and designs the project together. The Owner’s cost is decreased through economical and efficient decision making, quicker design, and earlier purchase of long-lead materials that creates a streamlined construction schedule and shaves both time and money off the project.

Won’t we lose choices and control of the project by choosing Design-Build?

The short answer – absolutely not! This misconception usually stems from 3 main concerns: competitive pricing, subcontractor selection, and material specifications. Horst invites a minimum of 3-5 prequalified subcontractors to bid every trade package, ensuring our Owners get competitive pricing in addition to the quality workmanship and attention to detail which their projects deserve. We welcome Owner-suggested or preferred subcontractors to be included in this process. We then complete an “apple to apple” bid comparison and review the information with the Owner. The ultimate decision is ALWAYS our Owner’s to make. In terms of material selection, Horst provides information, suggestions, and value enhancement opportunities but the Owner sets the selected criteria for materials. Our role is be a guide and advocate, not a dictator!


Hopefully this has helped to answer a few of your questions about the Design-Build project delivery method and its benefits.