Design-build vs Open Tender? Which is Right for You?

Like anything in life, there is always more than one option and pros and cons that come with each. Here we discuss the design-build option versus an opentender scenario. Which is right for you? We’ll let you be the judge.

The traditional option is an open tender. During this process you get your building designed and engineered, then invite builders to ‘tender’ (provide a plan and price) for the project. You will then select your preferred builder.

The increasingly popular option is the design-build process, in which you select your builder or a design-build team from the outset. The collaboration between the designer, engineer and builder right from the start, leads to greater efficiencies and often cost-savings during the project.



  • From the outset you can create a clear plan, with all involved parties.
  • Yourself, the designer, engineer and builder can work through any issues before the design is finalised – potentially avoiding costly changes further down the track.
  • Value engineering becomes possible, with your team being able to ensure the most efficient methods and materials are used for the best possible outcome for price and functionality.
  • The opportunity for innovation is increased, due to the ideas shared and the ability to be innovative right from the start.
  • When managed well, design-build projects reduce confusion, alleviate conflict and increase productivity due to talking things over early on.
  • Dealing with a single contractor for the design and build process reduces risk to you, the client. If anything goes wrong during the process, it is all covered by the same company, regardless of the characteristics of the fault.


  • Critics could argue that the design-build process may limit your personal input into the initial design process, as the ‘team’ of designers, engineers and builders take over the decision making.
  • It has also been said that designers, builders and engineers create better buildings when they focus on their own expertise.
  • If project-managed ineffectively, the benefits of a design-build project may be reversed.


Open tender


  • The designer is not limited in their creativity by the opinions of the builder.
  • The competitive nature of the process can improve the cost-effectiveness.


  • Choosing a builder can be a lengthy and stressful process. Comparisons will need to be made between the contenders, including evaluating what their quote includes, excludes and any conditions.
  • This process can easily become cost-focused, rather than quality-focused and you may end up with a builder who is either unqualified to complete your project or has underestimated the level or amount of work to be completed, resulting in the project running over the initial budget.
  • When a builder joins the project after the design has been completed, they may find problems with the design, which requires changes. Any changes to a project cost time and money.
  • Additionally, the builder may not have the opportunity to suggest innovative alternatives in materials and technology.


How does Coresteel Buildings function?

Coresteel Buildings’ operations are a great example of the design-build method. We manage the process from start to finish, with our in-house design, engineering and construction teams. We also go to the next level, by manufacturing our products in-house as well. For that reason, we can guarantee a shorter timeline while maintaining a cost-effective price for your project.

This system works especially well for us, as we specialise in custom-designed buildings, which are tailored exclusively to your specifications. Having our designers, engineers and builders involved from the initial phase means we can offer the best solution, using the most relevant Coresteel products and for the best price.

Want to know more about the design-build process at Coresteel?

Contact your local franchise now!


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