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  • Writer's pictureTom Miller, CCIM

Benefits of a Design-Build Manager for Your Build-to-Suit Project

In the world of build-to-suit, there are three approaches – traditional, aggressive and strategic. When the goal is streamlining the process, significantly reducing project costs and finding an excellent facility that offers real value, the strategic approach – the one that involves a design-build manager – is the way to go.

Build to Suit – The Traditional Approach

When a business owner is ready to build a facility to suit the need of the company, it’s traditional to choose a designer-builder and begin the project. The potential drawback to working with a single entity, however, is the inherent risk. The business owner has no way of ensuring that he’s getting the best design, the best possible price and the best value. That’s the risk you take when you fail to shop around.

Build to Suit – The Aggressive Approach

Accepting multiple design-build proposals seems like it would solve the problem of the traditional approach. Not so fast. Forcing a designer-builder to compete for a project means he’s exceptionally aware that price is a critical factor in the selection process. In most cases, that builder will do whatever it takes to hit the lowest price for an owner’s project. That sounds good initially, but it may mean an ultimate sacrifice on both scope and quality of the project – something the owner likely won’t discover until much later. When prices suddenly skyrocket in response to requests for higher quality materials and changes, the owner will realize the lowest bidder doesn’t have such a great price anymore.

Build to Suit – The Strategic Approach

Using a qualified design-build manager offers an owner a method of closely controlling the design-build process from the initial meeting all the way to project completion. That’s because a design-build manager will offer a variety of services, including the creation of a design-build bidding specification. This document defines the project requirements, finds solutions to project challenges and does both in a cost-effective manner. During the bidding process, this document gives an owner a significant advantage.

Bid analysis is another way a qualified design-build manager can offer value. Parsing the language in proposals ensures that the owner’s requests are effectively laid out in these bidding documents.

This breakdown shows more benefits of using a design-build manager when the bottom line matters most.


Option one shows a cost breakdown for hiring an architectural firm with little experience in the industrial world (the traditional approach). Option two outlines hiring a builder who works with a handful of architectural firms, and who will choose one with which to move forward on your project (another traditional approach). Option three shows the use of a design-build manager to find the best possible builder-designer without sacrificing quality (the strategic approach).

If you’re ready to learn more about the value of using a build-design manager, let us answer your questions today.

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Miller Industrial Properties, Sparks, Reno, Nevada
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