Subcontractors and Design-Build

Our associate, Bill Kneeland, PE, emailed me recently, pointing out that subcontractors play a vital role in selecting building products for Design-Build projects:
Lately I have been schooling (consulting) subcontractors on the requirements necessary to Bid Design-Build (D-B) projects.
D-B projects represent a growing opportunity for companies that have sufficient experience to prepare D-B bid documents, providing they understand the correct process of how to protect the bid dollar amount. Too often, the conditions and assumptions contained in bids are incomplete, causing subcontractors to revise their original bid dollar amount upwards. This creates unfavorable issues with the GC, CM, or A/E.
One interesting aspect of schooling my subcontractor subjects has to do with selling the benefits of manufactured products that offer the project:
  1. Improved material/systems/equipment vs. the more generally used and accepted products.
  2. Energy efficiency.
  3. Return on investment and life cycle cost attributes.
  4. Quicker construction schedule.
  5. Project cost reduction.
  6. Code compliance.
  7. Other value.
GCs and CMs are becoming construction brokers and subcontractors are much more knowledgeable about product/material/manufacturer selection. Therefore, as the D-B project enters the formative design stage, it is the subcontractor that brings to the table a high degree of knowledge, respect and credibility with regard to product/material/manufacturer selection. This often leads to the selection and approval of the subcontractor's recommendation by the A/E.
Expanding the subcontractor's value to the project in depressed economic times is of value to all.
Bill Kneeland, PE is a construction cost estimator. He collaborates with Chusid Associates to prepare construction cost analyses to determine the competitiveness of new building products, and to provide insight into product constructability and enhancements. He can be contacted through Chusid Associates.