Project Delivery Methods
In a design-build contract, the designer (AE) and the general contractor (GC) are the same entity. Design-Build is the easiest method of procurement for the owner. The reason is because it involves only one contract and the design-builder carries all of the liability.
In design-bid-build procurement, the design team and the general contractor are separate entities and require separate contracts from the owner. The design contracts may be split between architects and engineers. The AE entities carry all the design liability and the general contractor carries all the construction liability.
CM At-Risk (CMAR)
CM At-Risk is similar to Design-Bid-Build. The only difference is that the General Contractor (called the Construction Manager), is more involved in the design phase and delivers a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) or budget for the project. The purpose of this method of procurement is to shift the liability for change orders and cost overruns to the CM. This method is most common in state, federal, and municipal projects.
In multiple prime procurement, there is no general contractor. The owner directly employs all the construction management and holds all the individual trade contracts as well as the design contracts. This is the riskiest and most involved method of procurement for the owner. Owner-developers such as Lendlease employ this method of procurement as they are constantly constructing new buildings.
Public-Private Partnerships (P3) - (Excluded)
Recently, public-private partnerships have been called a method of project delivery. This is simply not true; they are a method of development. All general contractors should be dissuaded from entering into such agreements as they are highly complex and involve time frames and risks that are well outside the scope of normal business activities.