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The continuing rise of design and build

Having recently won or completed a number of large square footage office fit-out projects in London and the south east where clients were initially comparing the traditional procurement route with our own design and build (D&B) methodology, it seems an important subject to consider as the marketplace continues to thrive and speed of delivery becomes more and more of an issue.

With close to 30 years history of designing and constructing office schemes for our clients, Saracen Interiors inception followed closely behind the birth of D&B as a procurement method. As with any new concept it has taken the end user and the marketplace time to test and trust our methodology against the traditional procurement route. During that time the process has been refined and enhanced to establish D&B firmly as the preferred route for office interiors projects. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors has carried out research and comparisons in the key areas of speed, quality and cost and for projects falling in the 5000 to 75000 square foot bracket - D&B wins hands down.

Of course, underlying the methodology there is an inherent need for your supplier to provide an experienced team supported by a business with integrity and a strong track record. At Saracen we pride ourselves in our ability to both deliver a quality product and to build a strong and lasting relationship with our clients. Perhaps this non-contractual friendly client relationship is the most important differentiator between procurement methods where inevitable practical issues arising throughout a project can be resolved over a coffee rather than in a court room.

With regard to timescales we are able to design a scheme in tandem with accurate budgets using in house experts. When it is time to provide a firm fixed cost this again can be produced quickly and accurately without the need for a lengthy tender process saving many weeks in a typical programme. The key disciplines for design and project management are all in house resources allowing clear communication and teamwork between the design and construction teams. This also negates the cost of professional fees for an architect, project manager and quantity surveyor found with the traditional route. As sole contractual and design responsibility is taken on by us, as the D&B contractor, there is a clear transfer of risk where the client can be certain of the delivery of a fixed design scheme against a firm price and within an agreed timescale.

With all of these points providing a strong case for D&B it is then, of course, crucial to ensure selection of the best partner for the project at hand. Again D&B plays a trump card here as most reputable firms will provide initial consultancy and office design services at no cost to the client. This provides an ideal opportunity to test drive the suitability of the various teams and to select the very best fit supplier for the project at hand.

So I guess unless you are building the next Shard the case for D&B as the best route forward is pretty compelling. Whilst signing off let's hope for continued growth in the marketplace and a sustained improvement in the economy to provide some much needed prosperity as we enter the summer months. In the meantime here at Saracen we continue to grow and to create inspirational office interiors with our tried and tested team and the now long established, mature but friendly D&B route.

Mike Page


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