No matter how many times I counsel against using a contractor to lead design-build projects there is always someone who rationalizes away all of the negatives.
I have written about General Contractor led Design Build (GC led DB) a number of times, but I continue to encountered Stakeholders who simply insist on this model. Quite frankly there is little that I find redeeming about this model and I remain steadfast against it.
With respect to every other contracting model, I can honestly say that I hold a neutral point of view. I see viable applications for everything from Multi-prime T&M to Stipulated Sum GMP and everything in between, but I honestly feel that GC Led DB is the most despicable form of contracting in the market.
I know how strong that statement sounds, but I’m taking the gloves off for this one.
Before I go on (and alienate all of my contractor buddy’s) let me clarify that none of what follows is meant to suggest that ALL contractors are bad, nor am I suggesting that there are No contractors capable of delivering a good project under GC-led-DB.
For clarity, I feel I must take a moment to describe how GC led Design-build works.
GC led Design build is a variation of design-build where the General Contractor takes a prime contractual relationship with the Owner. All other parties (including the Architect) are sub-contracted to the GC.
This means that the Owner hires the General Contractor and then the General Contractor hires the Architect, the Engineers, and all the trade contractors. In its worst form this model also allows the GC to subcontract the commissioning agents and maybe even buy the furniture.
This is your classic one-throat-to-choke turn-key design-build model. Yes, all of those terms mean the same thing.
So why is GC-led DB so bad?