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Why Progressive Design-Build Should Be the Project Delivery Method of Choice

Fri June 30, 2023 - National Edition
Granite Construction

When investing in construction projects, government, municipal and private owners often face complex challenges: tight budgets, strict timelines, regulatory compliance, and workforce deployment are all set against the need to deliver high-quality infrastructure. In many cases, these challenges are exacerbated by traditional project delivery methods that, by their structure, limit opportunities to collaborate and problem-solve in the early stages of the project. In recent years, an alternative project delivery method known as PDB has gained traction as an innovative and effective approach that enhances collaboration between owner, designer, and contractor throughout the project. This article explores why owners should consider selecting PDB for their construction projects and how this delivery method can achieve better project outcomes.

Collaborative Approach:

The critical advantage of PDB is the way collaboration is baked into the structure of project delivery. Unlike traditional design-bid-build or design-build approaches, PDB fosters close collaboration between the owner, designers, and contractors from the project's inception. The early involvement of all stakeholders allows for more effective communication, coordination, and shared decision-making. This environment promotes innovation, maximizes efficiency, and leads to a higher level of project customization, ensuring that the final product meets the specific needs and expectations of the owner.

Flexibility and Adaptability:

The evolving needs and changing circumstances inherent in any project require flexibility to effectively address. PDB is designed to accommodate such flexibility by using a phased structure. This iterative, adaptive process better allows for adjustments and modifications throughout of the project, enabling owners to refine their requirements, incorporate feedback, and respond to unforeseen challenges. The adaptability of PDB ensures that projects stay on track, mitigate risks, and deliver outcomes better aligned with evolving goals and priorities.

Cost and Time Savings:

PDB can deliver significant cost and time savings for owners. The collaborative nature of PDB increases trust and minimizes potential conflicts and disputes between stakeholders, reducing the likelihood of costly delays and change orders. Early involvement in the design phase enables contractors to provide valuable input on constructability, materials, and alternative cost-effective solutions, thereby optimizing the project's budget. The progressive design-build process also helps expedite construction timelines by overlapping design and construction activities, resulting in earlier project completion and reduced project costs.

Risk Mitigation:

Construction projects inherently involve risks that can impact budgets, schedules, and overall project success. PDB offers a proactive approach to risk management. By engaging contractors and designers early in the process, potential risks are identified and mitigated during the design phase itself. The collaborative environment allows for innovative problem-solving, identification of potential design conflicts, and value engineering solutions that minimize risks and enhance project outcomes. With risk mitigation strategies in place, owners can minimize the chances of unforeseen issues and avoid costly delays and claims.

Quality and Innovation:

Governments, municipalities, and private owners strive to deliver infrastructure projects that are durable, sustainable, and innovative. PDB facilitates the integration of design, construction, and operational expertise throughout the project lifecycle, ensuring the delivery of high-quality infrastructure that meets the desired standards. The collaborative nature of PDB fosters innovation by encouraging contractors and designers to explore creative solutions, whether technologies, methods, or materials, that enhance the project's sustainability, functionality, and overall value. The focus on continuous improvement and value engineering results in infrastructure that not only meets immediate needs but also serves the long-term interests of the community and stakeholders.


Progressive design-build empowers owners to proactively overcome the challenges typically associated with construction projects. By embracing PDB, stakeholders can benefit from collaborative decision-making, flexibility, cost and time savings, risk mitigation, and enhanced quality and innovation. The PDB approach aligns with the goals of delivering infrastructure that meets the evolving needs of communities while optimizing resources and ensuring long-term success. With its numerous advantages, PDB stands as an attractive option for governments, municipalities, and private owners seeking effective and efficient project delivery methods.

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