I often find that clients are confused by the process of designing and constructing a building. Most of the confusion stems from the fact the Owner (that’s you) is new to the process, or for more seasoned owners, there are a slew of ways to deliver a project. So let’s get down to the brass tacks -
The most traditional method of project delivery. The Owner hires an Architect and Contractor separately. The Owner first works with the Architect to design the project. Once the design is complete, the Owner hires a Contractor to build the project. The Owner is separately contracted with each.
A more recent, and popular, method of project delivery. The Owner hires one company/entity that acts as both the Architect and Contractor of the building. This company/entity will both design and build the project. The Owner is contracted with this one company/entity.
For more experienced Owners who have done it before. The Owner typically hires an Architect. When the design is completed, the owner acts as the Contractor and hires multiple Sub-Contractors (specific trades like a roofer or painter) to build the project. The Owner is then responsible for organizing and scheduling all trades. The Owner is separately contracted with the Architect and each Sub-Contractor.
Construction Manager At Risk
A relatively new method of project delivery and good for large-scale projects on tight timelines. The Owner hires a Construction Manager (typically a reputable contracting company) to oversee the design process, as well as to construct the project. The Owner also hires an Architect to work on the design of the project. The Owner is contracted to the Architect and Construction Manager separately.
Integrated Project Delivery
Another new method of project delivery best for large-scale projects with experienced Owners. The Owner selects an Architect and Contractor before beginning the project. The three entities enter one joint contract from day one.
Public Private Partnership (P3 or PPP)
This specific delivery method is for public projects. The government entity (Owner in this case) seeks out a team of private professionals to design and construct the project. Often the private professionals form a joint team between a Developer, Architect, and Contractor to deliver the project. The Owner (government entity) contracts with the team of private professionals. It is often the case the Owner (government entity) directly contracts with the Developer and the Architect and Contractor are sub-contracted to the Developer.
As with anything in life that requires significant work, there are going to be advantages and disadvantages of each method. I have worked on almost all of these project delivery methods and honestly do not feel that one is the better than the other. It’s important for the Owner to determine what method works with the specific needs of the project. Below is a handy chart to help understand what each method offers and where it falls short.