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What is the Timeline for a Design-Build Project?

Planning a design-build commercial construction project is much simpler than other delivery methods like cost-plus or hard-bid. It’s a turn-key delivery solution with the general contractor responsible for completing all phases of the project from design to build with input from the business owner. Since the business owner or project developer doesn’t have to hire and manage individual contractors for each phase of the project, the build-out is more cost-effective with shorter timelines than other delivery methods. Its why many experts often recommend business owners use a design-build contractor for their first construction project. 

The timeline for a design-build project can be categorized into five phases, from preplanning to delivery, as outlined below.

Construction Design-Build Pre- Planning, Orlando FLPreplanning

The initial preplanning stage is where you are laying the groundwork for your construction project. It involves meeting with internal stakeholders to determine the scope and budget of the project. The length of time for the preplanning phase depends on whether its new construction, remodeling, or a complete renovation. If you need to acquire land for a new building or expansion, you will need to make the acquisition before construction can start on your project.

Estimated time to complete: 1 to 4 weeks

Hire Design-Build Contractor

Hiring a design-build contractor is really when you kick-start your project. It is also the pre-construction phase. There will likely be several pre-construction meetings with the commercial contractor and their team for them to develop a complete understanding of the build, budget, and financing. Some of the items you will discuss at length will be the vision or concept of your project, materials and finishes, fixtures, landscaping, and parking, for example. During the pre-construction phase, you will need to allow time for the contractor’s architectural and engineering team to complete any feasibility studies, site reviews, building inspections, and other evaluations that your project will require. The architect will use this information for the next phase of the project, which is the design stage.

Estimated time to complete: 3 to 6 months

Architectural Design

The design stage is where the architect will bring your vision to life in a series of blueprints, image renderings, and construction documents that the construction team will use to build your project. The architectural drawings and documents will also reflect the cost of the construction project, so you will want to compare it against your budget and financing. You will also want to carefully review the architectural documents before signing off on your approval. If there is anything that needs to be modified or added, it’s better to do it here than after construction work begins. 

Estimated time to complete: 2 to 4 weeks

Design- Build Project Construction Phase, Orlando FLConstruction

The construction phase is full of activity. Your design-build contractor will begin and complete the project with meticulous attention to detail based on the full scope of work and design documents that were developed in the previous phases. During the construction phase, your contractor will prepare the building site and hire and manage the teams of sub-contractors that will be scheduled to complete their work throughout the ground-up construction, remodeling, or renovation.


The delivery or post-construction phase is the final stage of your commercial construction project. The contractors are completing the site clean-up in preparation for the final walk-thru before handing the keys over to the building owner. Congratulations! You just completed your first successful design-build construction project.

Estimated time to complete: 1 to 2 weeks

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