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Design-build changes the way we build


Project delivery entails more than simply getting a project done. Bringing together different entities to adhere to budget, standard, scheduling, material and project team considerations is only part of what is accomplished under the direction of a project delivery method. The most common methods are: design-bid-build (DBB), design-build (DB), construction management-at-risk (CMAR), construction management multi-prime (CMMP), public-private partnership (P3) and integrated project delivery (IPD).

DB is so popular at jobsites around the country that it seems odd that we were thinking of it as cutting edge just a few years ago. A recent study, the Design-Build Utilization Update by FMI, shows the growth of the market by sector and region.

Even when you are not the individual DB contractor, the methodology and efficiency of this project delivery method trickles down to subcontractors. Because we talk to contractors about project status and trends, we found this information interesting. We hope you do too!

A Closer Look

FMI researchers first studied DB utilization in 2018. That study showed that DB was no longer an alternative delivery process and had taken over market share. The current study gives an updated market analysis, forecasting for 2021-25.

“This latest research confirms that as growing numbers of teams use design-build in all sectors, regions and project sizes, their successes are driving growth and innovation. Design-build is changing the way America builds. It’s clear design-build will play a significant role in delivering the nation’s most time and cost-efficient projects to our communities. Just when we need it most,” says Lisa Washington, CAE, the Design-Build Institute of America executive director/CEO.


Market Growth


  • DB is expected to account for as much as 47% of construction spending in the assessed segments (nonresidential, highway/street, transportation and water/wastewater) by 2025.

  • National construction put in place spending for 2020-21 saw a decline. DB construction spending was up 1.3% in 2020 and an estimated 0.5% increase in 2021.

  • DB spending in highway/street, education and manufacturing markets represents the greatest percentage of spending by segment over the 2021-25 period.

  • The West South Central (8.8%), South Atlantic (8.6%) and Middle Atlantic (8.2%) census divisions are anticipated to yield the highest annual growth rates.

  • Experience with DB was rated highest across all project delivery methods, with 77% reporting very good and excellent experiences. The ability to fast track, innovate and increase project collaboration/communication were identified as top DB benefits.

Trickling Down

The FMI research provides more statistics and insight, as well as detailed geographic and sector data with market analysis and projections. The full report is available here.

DB entities have found an efficient construction method that impacts the success of a project. The prospect of doing more projects in various markets with improved collaboration and excellent outcomes sounds good to us. In the end, market growth is good for all the stops along the supply chain.

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