All construction projects required a mixture of services, including planning, design, and construction. Construction project delivery methods consist of different ways to organize those services in order to execute a project.

While each method generally consists of an owner, a designer, and a builder, the execution of a project can differ. The steps required in a project’s journey to completion are importation to how successful the project will be. That’s why choosing the right project delivery method is a crucial step to take before construction begins.

Construction Project Delivery Methods

Before choosing a project delivery method, there are a few things to consider. This includes the owner’s budget, the design of the project, the risks involved in the project, the schedule, and the owner’s experience with similar projects.

The following will be a quick breakdown of four of the most common types of project delivery methods. Don’t worry – a more in-depth analysis of each method is coming over the next few weeks.

In the meantime, let’s look at:

  • Design-Bid-Build (DBB)
  • Design-Build (DB)
  • Construction Management-at-Risk (CMAR)
  • Construction Management Multi-Prime (CMMP)

Related: What is Lean Construction?

Design-Bid-Build (DBB)

Design-bid-build is the most popular project delivery method, and it’s usually the lowest price upfront. The designer/architect and general contractor work directly for the owner, so this method provides opportunities for owner-input on the project. With a design-bid-build project, there’s a clear divide in which parties design the project and which ones actually do the building.

Design-Build (DB)

Design-Build has been becoming more popular in recent years — a recent report claims that this delivery method is now used on up to 40% of the US-based construction projects.

DB creates a very straightforward process for owners. However, the owner’s don’t receive as much input in the project. In this method, both the design and construction phases are handled by the same firm. The entire project is handled start to finish – drawing a stark contrast to the above design-bid-build project. In theory, when the design team and build team are rolled into one operation, the project can become more efficient.

Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR)

With the Construction Management at Risk method, a construction manager acts like the owner’s consultant during the design phase. Similarly to the DBB method, the CMAR method separates the design and building processes. The construction manager also oversees construction much like a general contractor would, and accepts the risk for meeting the deadline and the cost requirements. The owner provides a set maximum payment – aka a cap on pricing – in return.

Construction Management Multi-Prime (CMMP)

Construction Management Multi-Prime projects are split into three distinct phases: design, engineering, and construction. For each phase of the project, the owner executes a separate contract. This method is better for owners who have a lot of experience and want more control. With a CMMP project, the owner essentially acts as a general contractor, and the construction manager’s risk level is lower than a CMAR project (which, based on the names of these methods names, is predictable).


Deciding which project delivery method is best for you relies a lot on your experience with the type of project, how much control over the project you want, your timeline, and your budget. Also, every project is different so you’ll need to choose the right method for you on a case-by-case basis.

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Common Construction Project Delivery Methods: A Breakdown
A breakdown of the four most common construction project delivery methods: Design Bid Build, Design Build, Construction Manager at Risk, and Construction Management Multi-Prime.
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