Quiz #3 Question - At what point in the project timeline is the cost of construction established in design-build

Hello All,

In a workshop today a question came up about a question in PjM Practice exam form #3.
The question stated, “On a past project an owner had issues navigating communications between architect and general contracto. For this reason, the owner wants one point of contact in their contract and thus is considering using the standard design-build project delivery method for their new retail center”
“At what point in the project timeline is the cost of construction established in a traditional design-build project?”

One option was “pre-design” and another option was “prior to commencing design”. A candidate asked how these two options were different.

It’s a bit of semantics, but what many consider “pre-design” has likely already occurred by the time the costs of the project are established. In design-build the design-build team put together a proposal for the owner, which includes the proposed costs. If the owner finds the proposal ameniable, they sign the contract adn the design-builder gets to work.

In the A141 (Owner/design-builder agreement) the initial information provided by the owner includes the information that would have been determined during a “predesign” phase, such as size location, dimensions, environmental studies, etc. The design builder produces a “preliminary design” based on this information.

Here’s a handy website that describes the process in more detail:

Because what you might consider the “predesign” phase has already taken place, the most correct answer here would be “prior to commencing design”. One of the key distinguishing factors of design-build is that the costs are determined very early in the process. The costs are outlined in the proposal submitted to the owner for their review and agreement prior to the full design process taking place.

I’m not the most familiar with design-build myself, so I’ll differ to any additional explanation @coachchrishopstock might like to provide as well!

Hope this helps,

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