Industry analysts at Food Marketing Institute (FMI), Arlington, Va., completed an assessment of the non-residential, highway/street and water/wastewater design-build construction market to deliver a comprehensive look at design-build’s market size, direction, trends and drivers.

“This research is incredibly important, as design-build transitions from what use to be considered an ‘alternative delivery’ process not so many years ago to the preferred delivery method for a growing number of public and private owners. Collaboration and innovation are delivering better projects that also achieve cost and schedule savings, which is especially important as cash-strapped states and communities have to do more with less,” says Lisa Washington, executive director and CEO of Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Washington, D.C. 

The data reveals that not only has design-build seen increased usage in all sectors and regions of the United States, but that the industry has also witnessed extraordinary project outcomes and innovation across all sectors.

Market growth – now and into the future       

  • Overall, design-build is anticipated to account for 44% of construction spending in the assessed segments (non-residential, highway/street and water/wastewater) by 2021.
  • Design-build spending in manufacturing, highway/street and education represent the greatest percentage of design-build construction spending by segment over the 2018-2021 period.
  • The Mountain (6.3%), Pacific (6.1%) and South Atlantic (6.2%) census divisions are anticipated to yield the highest growth rates.
  • Design-build spending is anticipated to grow 18% overall, with the highway/street and water/wastewater sectors seeing 30% growth by 2021.

Owners give design-build high satisfaction rankings

  • Experience with design-build was rated highest across all project delivery methods, with 76% reporting very good and excellent experiences.
  • Over half of owners have already or will use design-build in the next five years.
  • Design-build utilization continues to expand into smaller project sizes (<$25 million) as owners continue to gain exposure to the benefits of design-build.
  • Alternative project delivery methods have become a more frequent option for both public and private owners.
  • The use of alternative delivery methods provides the best avenue to achieve the originally identified cost, the survey says.
  • Opportunities to innovate and the ability to fast track a project were identified as top benefits associated with design-build.