Traditional Procurement VS Design & Build

Ever looked at these beautiful bungalows and wondered how they came to fruition?

Many of our Clients come to us with Pinterest photos and some ideas of how they envision their dream houses to be. Behind the scenes of these beautiful images lies a complicated and technical process of construction – from designing, to bidding, and finally, to building.

There are 2 procurement methods which you can employ to carry out this process:

  • Traditional Procurement
  • Design and Build

This article discusses the characteristics of both procurement methods and highlights its suitability for works.


Traditional Procurement

In a Traditional Procurement, the Client engages an Architect and other Consultants to design. Besides designing to meet user requirements, the team of Consultants are also responsible for quality, cost control, obtaining authorities’ approval and contract administration.



The appointment of a good builder is carried out through a competitive tender process, after detailed design documentation, prepared by the Consultants. The Contractor is not responsible for design and its fitness to purpose. The Contractor’s responsibility lies in completing the works, to the Consultants’ specifications.

For more information on the process of developing a house, refer to our article “Guide to Building a House in Singapore.”


Design and Build

For Design and Build contracts, the Client engages Contractor to undertake both the design and construction aspects of the project.


This method has several implications. Theoretically, this method of engaging one entity promotes more collaboration between the Design professionals and builder and allows for single point responsibility, which is key advantage for home-owners.

However, in reality many Design and Build Contractors are primarily Contractors, and are not proficient in design, therefore compromising on the quality of the proposal and built product. In the Traditional Procurement method, the Architect acts as a third party to ensure that the construction meets the quality and standards as delineated in the signed contracts. In the Design and Build method, the Contractor and Architect belongs under one legal entity and the Owner loses a neutral third party to administer the contract fairly.

This is especially concerning as the home-owners, who tend to have very specific user requirements, end up with less control on design. Often, the end result may not meet the expectations of these home-owners who have spent a considerable amount of money. This is unlike the Traditional Procurement method, where the design is controlled fully by the home-owner and consultants, and is fully known and detailed before Tender.


Although there is more front-end time required for tender documentation by Consultants, the Traditional Procurement method is more suitable for residential houses, where Clients are more likely to have specific user requirements and preferences.

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