Driven to Deliver: Value, Budget, Aesthetics, Functionality

Our vertically-integrated, in-house team has years of experience and a large portfolio of projects under our belt. From project to project, we've proven the benefits of our unique design-build model. One of those key benefits includes the ability to drive value by meeting the budget requirements that make a project happen while maintaining the design aesthetics and functionality the client wants.

It's not all about the initial bid. Check out what our experts have to say. 


Phil Cattanach, General Manager & Vice President

Jeff Smith, Regional Vice President of Construction


We have a sweet spot with projects where we can add value by cutting costs and still delivering the building that meets or exceeds the client's needs and expectations. Tell us about that. On what type of projects can we deliver value?

Phil: Often, we find the earlier we can bring the entire Opus vertically-integrated team to the client, the most clarity we can deliver. Our primary objective is not to “cut" cost, but to understand from the client what they need. Ultimately, no one is better suited to articulate the needs of a client than the client! We can then distill the priorities and focus on what's important to them. We can also offer options and leverage our national platform for lessons learned and upcoming trends that can lead to solutions that exceed the client's expectations.

Jeff: Our design-build delivery model is a great fit for a wide range of projects, but we are currently delivering this kind of value on industrial, multifamily and office projects. 

On industrial, the sheer number of projects going through our system allows us to continue to refine our design and construction practices. Our associates can't stop asking if there is a better way, even when developing a project type that we have developed hundreds of times.

We talk about design-build, especially in comparison to design-bid-build. But we do competitively bid out the entire project to make sure we get the right price. What is the ultimate difference between design-build and design-bid-build?

Phil: The accelerated timeline of design-build coupled with leveraging the expertise of the talented subcontractor community and Opus experts yields the project as designed – on budget and on a condensed schedule.

While there may be more variables at the onset compared to a design-bid-build project, we are leveraging the collaboration and creative problem-solving of many and focusing on cost and constructability. The early collaboration and exchanges throughout the design-build delivery process enable budget clarity as opposed to the design-bid-build where the budget does not become clear until the bid phase, which can often result in costly redesign and re-bid. This extends the schedule, and in the current material inflationary environment, it creates more and more risk onto the ownership.

Jeff: Our design-build process allows us to not only get the most competitive pricing in the market through our bidding process, but also on buying the right scope. Our designs are optimized so that we are buying the right scope for the right application, which saves our client's money.

We don't just price what's on the plan. Tell us more about that. How does it benefit the client?

Phil: Our construction and design professionals think holistically and know what is required to deliver a quality building. We're not simply reading a plan and bidding that scope. We're making sure the scope is accurate to avoid change orders in the future.

We do sometimes suffer at the onset of a competitive bid process given the scope we quote is complete whereas others will simply bid the plan and claim that is all they should bid thus coming in at a perceived “lower" cost. Fortunately, we have found the market recognizes the value of an Opus number.  Clients have specifically shared that our number tends to be the right number if not the best number at the end of the project given the challenges of time and cost associated with change orders when executing with other contractors.

Jeff: We fill in the missing detail. We deliver outcomes and solutions to our clients as a design-builder, as opposed to a general contractor who simply builds what's on the plan. 

If the scope doesn't change, we don't make a change order. And we work to limit the number of change orders on a project. Tell me about that.

Phil: Simply put: if the scope doesn't change there will not be a change order. This is a very powerful statement that not many other contractors or developers can deliver at the onset of the project. We also work diligently to minimize the impacts of a scope change. The earlier we can understand a change, the easier it is to plan for and frequently minimize the schedule and cost impacts. We also recognize, especially when building a customized solution, that the scope may need to be modified due to changes in equipment or programming needs. Our team does an amazing job at understanding and reacting, which brings clarity and certainty for clients.

Jeff: Because we are responsible for both design and construction, we eliminate the risk that something might have been left off of the plans and requires a change order to the contractor. Our teams clearly define the scope at the beginning of a project, to create a certainty of outcome for our clients.

Filed Under: Design-Build Process