'Cost plus fixed fee' project deliver method

Per AHPP, “Another variation of the design-bid-build method is known as ‘cost plus fixed fee’. In this approach, the contractor is selected at the completion of the contract documents, but the scope of construction is unpredictable…”
However, in Table 9.3 (same book), the “construction contract determined” symbol is shown at the beginning of DDs.
These seem to be in contradiction. Could you please explain? Thank you!

Hi @ngolban - certain aspects of delivery methods are more flexible than others - when the contractor is selected in the cost-plus variant of the traditional delivery method isn’t too important. It’s possible that the owner has a contractor that they’ve been working with for 30 years, therefore before they even hire you, they know who the contractor is. The complete opposite is also possible - they may want to determine the contractor when the scope of work as as known as possible, after CDs. Anywhere in between is also possible - it doesn’t really affect the overall concept of the delivery method at all. In certain other delivery methods, like DBB for example, when the contractor is selected is super rigid - it needs to be after the CDs are prepared and during the bidding phase.

@ngolban, its definitely confusing that there’s some contradiction in the textbook! Chris’s explanation sums it up pretty well.

When I’m thinking about these deliver methods, I think of traditional DBB as having construction contract determined after CDs/Bidding and Negotiation, no ifs, ands or buts. Always going to be that way, since that’s when bidding (and thus construction contract determined) happens. DBB has the most rigid format, is the most widely understood, and is where a lot of the emphasis is for the ARE.

Negotiated select team in my understanding is the most flexible in terms of when construction contract can be determined–the “negotiated” really means that all sorts of things may be negotiated (in contrast with DBB, which is very rigid in format).

Cost plus fixed fee is a format that is best for projects that have an unknown scope. The contractor can really be determined any time the owner wants, but it makes sense to do it once the design is underway and scope is somewhat understood (ie, after SD is complete). Construction contracts could be executed as early as the beginning of DDs, or as late as the end of CDs.

(As a side note, Figure 9.3 has some typos in it, so I personally tend to reference that chart as just examples of how these project delivery methods work, not the exhaustive rules. Just my 2 cents…)

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Thank you both!