Nashville’s construction industry has a wide variety of delivery methods and approaches to building. Depending on the project at hand, the parties involved, budget, and contract, a construction company may approach the building of a particular project in different ways. The two main approaches include design-build vs design-bid-build. Depending on which one you use, the planning process and execution might look a little bit different. 

What are the main differences? Let’s look at what defines each methodology. 

For commercial construction in Nashville, Tennessee, connect with Hannah Constructors and learn more about how we get your project off the ground. 

What is the Difference Between Design-Build Projects and Design-Bid-Build?

Design-build and Design-bid-build are two different approaches to construction projects. Each method sets up a different structure for the work and can have varying advantages and disadvantages depending on the project’s scope, risk, complexity, size, and owner’s goals. 


This type of methodology involves a single entity managing the project. It signals that the builder and the designer collaborate to provide the best engineering services and design. It is the early stages of this method that define and differentiate it from the rest. As the project kicks off, there is frequent collaboration between the engineers, estimates, architects, and other construction disciplines. 


Project owners choose this delivery method often.  It is appropriate for project owners looking for low-cost bids. When using this type of construction method, the owner of the project (or the project or construction manager) contracts the needed builders and designers separately. There is no contractual obligation between the designer and builders. The owner of the project solicits bids from these independent contractors to perform a stated, agreed-upon scope of work. 

What are the Pros and Cons of Each Method? 

As with any two different types of methodologies, each one offers its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a quick overview list of some of these benefits and perhaps shortfalls of each of the methods. 

Advantages of the Design-build Method

The advantages of this method might depend on the particular project you are working on, budget, and other factors. Some of the advantages include: 

  • High-quality work: When the project owner hires a contractor up-front, it’s usually done on account of that contractor’s reputation or proven excellence. In this case, the owner is choosing a contractor based on skill and merit and not just budget or time restrictions. 
  • A quick timeline: Cutting out the bidding process means things move along much faster. When a team collaborates from the beginning stages of a project, the entirety of the project is most likely to flow smoothly and achieve its goals. 
  • Reduced risk: All project owners want to minimize risks or risk potential. When all parties agree on the terms of the contract early on, this means that conflicts and miscommunications can be eliminated. 
  • Improved collaboration and communication: Because this model involves all parties working together in the first stages of the process, communication and workflow are improved. 

Disadvantages of the Design-build Method 

  • No competitive bid: This method effectively eliminates the possibility of competitive bidding. This means that the owner might not end up with the most competitive pricing.  
  • Potentially less credibility: With this model, the timeline process happens much faster. This can potentially decrease the opportunities for creativity and innovation that occur.
  • Less contract flexibility: When the services are committed to one provider or contractor, there might be less contract flexibility. 

Advantages of the Design-bid-build Method

This traditional method is used frequently and is often the go-to for certain construction projects. Just like the above, it has its unique advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of this method include:

  • Competition: Perhaps the main contrasting characteristic of this type of building method is the price competition. With this method, owners get the most competitive pricing. 
  • Architect commitment: The architects involved have a responsibility to create on behalf of the owner and this will likely provide a high-quality set of drawings. 
  • Distinct roles and control: With this method, the owner clearly outlines roles early, as everyone works independently. Ownership of each part of the project is clear-cut. 

Disadvantages of the Design-bid-build Method 

  • Longer timeline: Because of the bidding process, the timeline for the project tends to extend longer. At the same time, if there are setbacks on one stage or another, the entire project is pushed back because of the way the workflow is designed, which can add additional delays. 
  • Logistical issues: With different teams working on one project, logistical issues can often emerge. This structure can also lead to a lack of insight between departments and phases as the process is not completely streamlined. 
  • Possible conflicts: As teams work separately, it’s possible that they lack insight into  the bigger picture and nuances and, therefore, clash with other aspects of the project. This might be due to a lack of communication, weak communication, lack of team camaraderie or collaboration. It’s always up to the owner or project manager to ensure the different teams are adequately receiving what they need and feel able to collaborate. 

Find a Construction Company that Builds with Character and Efficiency 

Hannah Constructors has always aspired to the philosophies of honesty, integrity, and pride in our work. So, regardless of the project at hand, we approach each task with humility and expertise. We strive to have effective communication so that we avoid any type of setback. After years of working in commercial construction, we are confident we can approach your project and do what needs to be done. 

Have questions about what we do and the services we offer? Call Hannah Constructors in Nashville, Tennessee today!