A recent article, "The Contractor's Job is to Protect the Client", in the Management Issues area at McGraw Hill's Southeast Construction site extolls the virtues of contractors and makes the suggestion that it is in the best interest of the contractor to protect his client. I would offer that it is the Integrated Design-Build firm, one that has both design and construction staff in the same company, that is best suited and motivated to protect the client interests in any building venture.
The article suggested that low wages for craft workers were the direct result of the "low-bid" environment. This adversarial environment results in lower quality work and places the parties at odds with each other when problems occur. What makes this even worse is when the problem could have been fixed early in the game by an observant, initiative taking craft worker. Unfortunately, the relationship itself motivates the contractor to first qualify and document the problem and then quantify it through the change order process, where the contractor gains and the client ends up paying for the fix.
Design-Build is the delivery system that is best suited to providing best value to their clients. Rather than suffering through a potentially adversarial relationship, the client and Design-Builder get on the same team early in the project by basing their relationship on performance and value. This encourages the team to work together to deliver the best result where everyone wins. It is this team environment that results in more profitable projects for the Design-Builder and better quality and functionality in the delivered project for the owner. This "best-value" mentality extends into every part of the team motivating each party to bring their best efforts to the table. From the design staff to the site personnel, the focus is on delivery of best value through quality service. It is this dedication to the best outcome for the project that delivers the most value to the client.
For more information visit:
The Design-Build Institute of America
The Haskell Company, America's Design Build Leader