Exploring collaborative construction delivery methods


The construction industry has witnessed a paradigm shift in recent years, with a growing emphasis on collaborative delivery methods. Two prominent approaches that have gained traction are Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) and Progressive Design-Build (PDB). These methods prioritise teamwork, communication and innovation to ensure successful project outcomes. In this article, we will delve into the key aspects of CM/GC and PDB, highlighting their benefits and differences and offering insights into when to use each approach.

Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC)

CM/GC is a delivery method that involves two primary entities: the construction manager (CM) and general contractor (GC). Unlike traditional design-bid-build projects whereby the contractor is brought in after the design phase is complete, CM/GC integrates the contractor during the design phase. Here’s how it works:

  • Pre-Construction Collaboration: The CM joins the project team during the design phase, offering valuable insights into constructability, cost estimation and scheduling. This early involvement fosters collaboration and helps identify potential issues before construction begins.
  • Competitive Bidding: Once the design reaches a certain level of completion, the CM/GC team conducts a competitive bidding process among subcontractors and suppliers. This promotes cost transparency and allows the project owner to select the most qualified team members.
  • Construction Phase: With the project team in place, construction can commence. The CM/GC oversees construction activities, ensuring adherence to the project’s goals, timeline and budget.

Benefits of CM/GC

  • Early Collaboration: Early involvement of the construction team enhances project efficiency and constructability.
  • Cost Control: Competitive bidding reduces costs, and the CM’s expertise helps in value engineering.
  • Risk Mitigation: The CM/GC shares project risks, leading to better risk management.
  • Time Savings: Concurrent design and construction phases can expedite project delivery.

Progressive Design-Build (PDB)

Progressive Design-Build is another collaborative delivery method that encourages teamwork and innovation. In PDB the owner selects a design-build team based on qualifications, and the project evolves through a series of phases:

  • Qualifications-Based Selection: The owner selects the design-build team based on qualifications, past experience and capabilities.
  • Pre-Design Phase: During this phase, the design-build team collaborates with the owner to define project requirements, budget and schedule.
  • Design and Costing: Design development and costing activities occur concurrently. This allows for continuous refinement of the design, promoting flexibility and innovation.
  • Construction Phase: Once the design is sufficiently developed and agreed upon, construction begins. The design-build team has a high level of control over the project’s execution.

Benefits of PDB:

  • Collaboration: PDB fosters a culture of collaboration and teamwork among project stakeholders.
  • Innovation: Continuous design refinement leads to innovative solutions and value engineering.
  • Flexibility: PDB allows for adjustments throughout the project, accommodating changing needs and requirements.
  • Single-Point Responsibility: The design-build team assumes responsibility for both design and construction, simplifying the decision-making process.

Choosing the right approach

Selecting the appropriate collaborative delivery method depends on project-specific factors:

  • Complexity: CM/GC is well-suited for complex projects with a need for early constructability insights. PDB is adaptable to various project complexities.
  • Owner’s Involvement: CM/GC may require more active owner participation during the design phase, while PDB offers more flexibility for the owner to delegate design responsibilities.
  • Risk Allocation: CM/GC typically involves shared risk, while PDB places more responsibility on the design-build team.


Collaborative construction delivery methods like CM/GC and PDB have revolutionised the industry by emphasising teamwork, innovation and risk-sharing. By choosing the right approach based on project-specific factors, owners can increase the likelihood of successful project outcomes, on-time delivery and cost-efficiency. In an era when construction projects are becoming increasingly complex, these collaborative methods provide a pathway to better results and satisfied stakeholders.

About the author

The writer is CEO and Founder of Damson Realty and Consultancy. He is a property development consultant and civil engineering construction expert known for his visionary projects, skillfully navigating both CM/GC and PDB methods to deliver innovative real-estate solutions.

Leave a Reply