American Society of Civil Engineers

Comparing Procurement Methods for Design-Build Projects

by Marwa A. El Wardani, (Formerly, Grad. Res. Asst., Dept. of Arch. Engrg., The Pennsylvania State Univ., 104 Engrg. Unit A, University Park, PA 16802), John I. Messner, (Asst. Prof., Dept. of Arch. Engrg., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802. E-mail:, and Michael J. Horman, (Asst. Prof., Dept. of Arch. Engrg., The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802. E-mail:

Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Vol. 132, No. 3, March 2006, pp. 230-238, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: The design-build delivery method is increasingly used in the United States due to numerous advantages it can offer a project. An important issue associated with design-build delivery is the procurement method used to select the design-build team. It is a critical decision that involves several key project team members, including the owner, designer, and contractor organizations, and requires the owner to carefully choose the design-build procurement method that will be used to select the team that will deliver the project. This research quantitatively analyzed the correlation between the design-build procurement method and the performance of the design-build project with regard to cost, time, and quality metrics. The procurement methods studied were sole source, qualifications-based, best value, and low bid selection. Data were collected through surveys from 76 design-build projects in the United States. Based on the patterns and relationships identified from these data, a better understanding of the procurement process and how it influences project performance is achieved. The impact of project-specific factors and guidelines are presented to assist owners in selecting the design-build team procurement method that responds to their project goals.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Construction industry
Project delivery