Traditional Method vs. Design + Build

The Design + Build method is a comprehensive approach that seamlessly integrates both the design and construction phases of a project. Most signage projects are still executed using a traditional ‘Design + Bid + Build’ (DBB) method. In this scenario, a wayfinding consultant is tasked to design the project. Their work is concluded with creating the Tender package (IFT). Then, the signage tender is floated to the market, and bids are made by contractors interested in the project.

Often, the client has no in-house team to evaluate these bids, so they task the consultant to act as a reviewer. This is an additional cost for the client. After technical and commercial evaluation of the bids, the most suitable contractor is chosen to carry out the fabrication and installation of signs.

This is where problems usually surface; design consultants envision the project being executed in a certain way, but they are not builders. Design consultants are often unaware of code compliance/requirements or technical aspects of the materials, fabrication methods and printing techniques. The awarded contractor faces challenges in fabricating or installing the signs as they were specified.

Then the back-and-forth communication takes place, and changes of specifications are made – until they reach a common ground. This process consumes clients’ time and resources. Most of you in the business have been there.

Luckily, there is a faster and more feasible way to execute your next signage project. It is called Design + Build, the fastest growing and the most popular method for project delivery. What was once considered an alternative way to complete projects has entirely shifted the industry.

At Modulex, we embraced it with open arms as our business model already supported it. It was a natural evolution, given we already had seasoned project managers, wayfinding strategists, designers, and several factories worldwide.


What is Design + Build?

In a traditional project delivery, the client must manage two separate contracts – a wayfinding/design consultant and signage contractor. In many cases, these two entities have not worked together before and often do not have a solid understanding of each other’s capabilities. Contracting both can often result in losing time on the tendering process.

The Design + Build method combines the design, supply, fabrication and installation into one contractual entity. The entire project life cycle is with the same team, from the concept stage to implementation.

End-to-end project management delivery

When we look into project cost and delivery time, from our experience, Design + Build consistently outperforms other project delivery methods – and there are a few main reasons for that:

There is only one point of contact for the client

Instead of working with multiple entities, the client manages just one contract with a single focal point. More streamlined communication prevents unnecessary delays and miscommunication, as it is all under one roof.

The project implementation is faster

Delivery time is often the main reason clients opt for the Design + Build method. On average, the design-build method delivers projects 33.5% faster than traditional general contracting [1]. The Design + Build methodology reduces errors, and there is less disconnect between project phases.

Moreover, our designers are trained in working with production teams; they understand the materials and methods of fabrication, so the whole process is optimized to avoid bottlenecks.

In addition, our unique platform, eModulex, is a cloud-based software that supports our team at all project stages. It allows us to create, design, plan, and issue reports and for our clients to review, comment, and approve our work, all in real time.

There are cost reductions

Change orders are often necessary when there is a disconnect between project phases – causing delays and additional costs. Design-Build projects can save up to 6.1% in project cost compared to traditional methods because of greater collaboration between the teams from day one. [1]

Expertise in all fields

At Modulex, we hire global experts in project management, wayfinding strategy, signage design, and fabrication. They all collaborate and communicate in all project stages, reducing risks and producing higher-quality solutions for our clients. Our clients benefit from hiring a company that gives them better work on brand, on budget and on time.

Written by:
Robert Canak – Croatia
Nour Abughazaleh – Croatia
 [1] Source: Construction Industry Institute (CII)/Penn State Research Comprising 351 projects ranging from 5,000 to 2.5 million square feet.

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