5 Minute Read

Innovative Design-Build Solutions for DFW Developers

Written by
Mike Mourton
Published on
February 16, 2024


The design-build approach in commercial construction is revolutionizing project delivery in the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area. This article explores the benefits of this integrated approach for developers in DFW, highlighting how it leads to more efficient, cost-effective, and innovative project outcomes.

Understanding the Design-Build Approach

The design-build approach to commercial construction is a project delivery method in which design and construction services are contracted by a single entity, known as the design-builder or design-build contractor. This method contrasts with the traditional design-bid-build approach, where design and construction are split into separate contracts and entities.

The key advantage of the design-build approach is that it fosters collaboration between the design and construction teams from the project's outset. This can lead to more efficient and effective communication, reduced timelines, and often a more streamlined and cost-effective project overall. Additionally, with one entity responsible for the entire process, there’s a single point of responsibility, which can simplify client interactions and project management.

Design-build team collaborating on a project plan

What does the Design-Build Approach look like? 

Here's an overview of the early phases of a design-build construction project:

  1. Project Inception: This is where the client's needs and objectives are identified. Preliminary ideas and goals for the project are discussed, including the budget, scope, and timeline.
  2. Selecting the Design-Builder: The client selects a design-build team based on qualifications, experience, and sometimes a preliminary concept or proposal. The design-builder is often a firm that integrates both design and construction services, although they may also be a partnership between a design firm and a construction company.
  3. Preliminary Design and Feasibility: Once the design-builder is selected, they begin working on the preliminary design. This phase includes developing initial design concepts that align with the client’s vision, budget, and requirements. Feasibility studies, site analysis, and zoning requirements are also addressed during this phase.
  4. Design Development: The initial design concepts are refined into a more detailed and developed design. This involves more detailed architectural, engineering, and material specifications. In the design-build approach, construction expertise is integrated into this phase to ensure constructability and adherence to budget.
  5. Pre-Construction Planning: Parallel to design development, the pre-construction phase begins. This includes planning the construction process, scheduling, procuring materials, and estimating costs. Risk management strategies are also developed during this phase.
  6. Final Design and Construction Documentation: The final design is completed and construction documents are prepared. These documents include detailed drawings and specifications for the construction team.
  7. Construction Begins: After the final design and planning are complete, the actual construction of the project begins.

Why choose the Design-Build Approach for your project?

Efficiency and Time Savings

One of the key advantages of the design-build approach is efficiency. By integrating design and construction phases, overlapping tasks can be executed simultaneously, significantly reducing the project timeline and accelerating the path to completion.

Cost-Effectiveness and Budget Management

Design-build allows for better cost control and budget management. With a single entity responsible for both design and construction, there is greater accountability, leading to more accurate cost estimations and minimized risk of budget overruns.

[Insert Image: Budget analysis meeting for a design-build project]

Enhanced Communication and Collaboration

This approach fosters a collaborative environment where architects, engineers, and builders work closely together. Enhanced communication leads to more cohesive project planning, innovative problem-solving, and a higher quality end product.

Collaborative discussion between architects and builders

Quality Control and Risk Management

In design-build, the unified team approach enhances quality control, as the designers and builders are aligned in their goals and standards. This integration also simplifies risk management, as there are fewer contractual relationships to manage.

[Insert Image: Quality control inspection on a design-build site]

Customization and Innovation

Design-build offers greater flexibility for customization and innovation. Developers can work closely with the team to ensure their specific needs and preferences are incorporated, leading to unique, tailored project outcomes.

[Insert Image: Innovative architectural design in a DFW design-build project]


For developers in DFW, the design-build approach offers a streamlined, efficient, and collaborative path to project completion. By embracing this integrated approach, developers can benefit from time and cost savings, enhanced communication, improved quality, and innovative solutions tailored to their specific needs.

Completed design-build commercial project in DFW
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Fort Worth
Mike Mourton
Managing Partner, Ashton Commercial Construction

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