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The pros and cons of design and construct vs design and tender

Achieving the best outcome for any development site varies for each project and often comes down to the property developers experience and the complexity of the development project itself.

When it comes to looking at the right delivery model there are basically two ways to go. Design and construct or design and tender.

Design and Tender

This model requires the developer to seek out their own designer or architect to create the designs for the project and then tender the project out through multiple builders for pricing and delivery


  • The developer has full control of the design process and retains copyright to the finished designs.
  • The developer can seek several quotes from builders and evaluate each quote according to their own specification.
  • There is no obligation to proceed with the project with any builder and the developer may control the time frame and delivery process for each stage.


  • The overall project cost is not known until well after the design process has been completed - often resulting in cost blow outs.
  • The process of evaluating each tender and specification inclusions is tedious and confusing as each builder has their own pricing structure based on their individual specifications.
  • Variations to the designs are often required by the builder for compliancy and engineering resulting in extra costs and time delays.

Design and Construct

This is where the developer works with the builder (and the builders internal design team) to deliver the project through every stage.


  • Because the designer and builder work collaboratively during the design process to identify cost efficiencies, the overall project cost is considered from the outset and designs generally come in on budget.
  • All site related challenges are identified early by the builder and factored into the design process for ease of construction and efficient delivery
  • Structural issues, including engineering and building compliancy, are addressed and dealt with during the design process to ensure the project stays on budget.


  • The finished design and copyright remain the property of the builder.

In summary

If you have the time and experience to go through the design and tender process and understand the potential pitfalls, that could be the way to go.

If on the other hand, you prefer a safer, more streamlined approach and staying within your budget, the design and construct approach is probably best for you.

A final word of wisdom - when it comes to building any project, the most important part of the process is having a good working relationship with the builder and designer/architect. Most issues can be resolved by constant, open and honest communication.