Municipal Facilities

Building Your Municipal Facility … ‘But We’ve Always Done It That Way!’

You may have heard the saying, “We’ve always done it that way.” It’s a common sentiment but one that has serious limitations in a business context. If we relied on this way of thinking, we would have missed out on so many innovations throughout the years. Take, for example, the automobile.

Wilhelm Maybach invented the first motorcar in 1901 for the German company Daimler, and Henry Ford made that invention accessible to the public through assembly-line production. Before that time, horses were the best mode of transportation. Ford once said, “If I would have asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Thankfully, forward-thinking individuals have always pushed the envelope to develop new and better ways of doing things. The same principle applies to design and construction for municipalities and other public sector buildings.

Henry Ford

The Traditional Way: Design-Bid-Build

In the construction industry, the design-bid-build process falls into that “we’ve always done it that way” category. The traditional design-bid-build approach involves hiring an architect, sending the plans out for bids, then selecting a general contractor to build according to the plans. Although that has been the norm, it’s not the only way to build a municipal facility.

The design and construction industry has evolved. Now there is a more efficient, cost-effective and pain-free way to develop your public-owned facility or community space: DESIGN-BUILD.

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The Better Way: Design-Build

Over the past 20 years, use of design-build in commercial construction has greatly accelerated in the United States, making this delivery method one of the most significant advancements in the industry. The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) reports these significant advantages of design-build compared to traditional bid-build:

  • Reduces unit costs on average by 6 percent
  • Increases construction speed by 12 percent
  • Accelerates overall project delivery by a whopping 33 percent
  • Decreases cost growth by 5 percent
  • Decreases schedule growth by 11 percent


Design-build has advantages over Construction Manager at Risk projects as well.

DBIA Chart

Single Point of Contact Provides Additional Advantages

Another important benefit of design-build is that it provides a single-source of responsibility for your entire project. No more finger-pointing between the architect and general contractor. Everyone is on the same team, working together to deliver a quality facility – whether it’s a town hall, community center, fire station, recreation space or public administration building. Design-build gives you the best overall experience with the least amount of stress, while staying within budget.

This team approach has big benefits when it comes to your architect designing to your budget and your contractor being able to build what the plans specify.

A fire chief recently told of his experience using the traditional bid-build method for developing a municipal fire station. He encountered a HUGE problem when he realized their reputable architect had designed a station they would never be able to afford. The chief said he spent over $250,000 on plans that couldn’t be built as originally drawn and required costly change orders during the construction phase.

With traditional bid-build, you won’t find out the cost of your building until you send it out to bid, and by then, it’s often too late. With design-build, however, budgeting is done during the design phase to ensure the facility meets the budget requirements. The architects and construction team work together from start to finish.

Approved Construction Method in NC and SC

“We’ve always done it that way” can sometimes seem like the motto for government. However, government entities are discovering the advantages of design-build and changing their preferred method of building.

The use of design-build and public-private partnerships are now accepted delivery and financing methods for public construction projects across North and South Carolina. Governments – from cities and small towns to state and federal – are saving money and time using single-source design-build for their facility construction.

Bobbitt Design Build participates in multiple public sector programs, including the National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA) and the GSA Schedule through Butler Manufacturing. These programs allow public (federal, state and local) entities to buy construction from a published schedule without going through additional bidding.

Selecting a Design-Builder

When selecting a design-build contractor, first consider the company’s experience in designing and building publically owned facilities. Ask to see the company’s government and municipal project portfolio, and ask for references. Also, check the credibility and stability of the company. Every project is unique and has different needs. Selecting the right team for your new facility is critical to its ultimate success.

Why Bobbitt?

Bobbitt is a recognized name in design-build for commercial construction with an extensive history of working with the public sector. We have delivered dozens of town halls, community buildings and fire and rescue facilities across the Carolinas. Based on our experience in these states, we understand that integrated design-build – based on qualifications and experience – results in better collaboration, higher quality and increased cost efficiency throughout the building process.