The Design-Build Benefit

June 1, 2022

One of the unique aspects of Hill & Wilkinson is our Design-Build department. As an industry-leader in design-build, this team of experts is dedicated to coordinating a seamless process for our clients by achieving greater efficiency, identifying problems sooner, and delivering significant time and cost savings. In 2020 and 2021, Hill & Wilkinson completed over $80 million combined in design-build projects and almost $96 million combined in 2022 completed as well as current active projects. We had the privilege of hearing from our very own Design-Build Manager, Craig Wedeman, on what makes design-build the smoothest and most cost-effective method of construction.

1. What is Design-Build?

The design-build project delivery method combines the architect/engineering (A/E) team and general contractor together in a single contract under the owner. Traditionally, the contractor then holds the prime contract with the A/E team. However, with design-build, the A/E and contractor collaboratively work together throughout the design and construction phases to proactively balance the owner’s project goals, schedule, and budget.

2. How does it contrast with other methods of design and construction?

In traditional project deliveries, such as design-bid-build or design-assist, the owner contracts the A/E team separate from the contractor.

3. What are the benefits of Design-Build?

Through personal experience and published statistics, the design-build project delivery method is one of the most expeditious delivery methods that can be utilized to deliver a project. The concept “time equals money” has never been more relevant than in the current market conditions as, over time, inflation and lead times continue to rise. This has challenged clients’ budgets and schedules with their vision and goals. The design-build project delivery method has been a preferred method to help remediate the budget and schedule challenges while providing a more defined expectation for what their product will be and when it will be delivered.

4. How would you say our team provides the best value-added services for our clients with the design-build method?

Design-build has been a part of H&W company fabric since it was founded in 1968 due to the opportunities it provides for building strong relationships with clients and consultants, as well as growing and developing our employees. To further enhance the design-build experience and opportunities, H&W decided to invest further into its process resources and, in 2016, launched a group dedicated to this delivery type. As a result, the successes the clients and consultants have experienced have led to repeat business and long-term relationships.

5. What notable projects have we worked on that are design-build? 

6. Who is on your team and how long have you all been working together?

I’ll start by saying I am truly blessed and thankful for the people I work with directly and indirectly. Jeff Sanders, Executive Vice President, oversees the Design-Build group as a whole and is the reason the group exists. Kadee Baker, Design-Build Assistant Project Manager, has been with me since 2018 and has been a major contributor to the success and growth of this group. One of the biggest ways she has done this is by making the simple and small things matter, like taking care of our consultants’ contracts, invoices, information management, and having a jovial personality while doing it all. Gopu Pillai, Design-Build Project Manager, joined the group in 2021 and has also contributed to the growth and capacity of our group by his natural gift of picking up the tools we provide and applying them to projects that have been championed to him.

7. What is your favorite thing about Design-Build?

The diversity of project types provides for a diversity of challenges, and you get to scheme up the solutions with some of the smartest people, all in one room. When everyone is driving toward the same mission, while viewing the project through the lens of their expertise, it is really fun to watch what takes form as a project.

8. What is your favorite thing about working with your team?

My favorite thing is watching them grow professionally and personally. Construction was hard before, even more so today. Watching Kadee and Gopu navigate adversity and arrive at solutions in this market while maintaining professional composure is awesome to witness.