This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Conceptual Model of Design-Build




Fuller, Ashley

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Design-build is a project delivery method with roots in the ancient concept of the “master builder” where responsibility for both design and construction reside in one person. Despite the dominance of design-bid-build in more recent years a reemergence of design-build was anticipated with early projections indicating it would begin to dominate over design-bid-build. While there has been steady growth in the use of design-build it has not met initial expectations which seems in part due to the lack of conceptual knowledge about the method. Through a process of triangulation involving the Delphi technique, Grounded Theory and Case Study analysis this research develops a conceptual model of design-build. Delphi data identifying critical factors of design-build is inductively coded into seven categories that are enfolded into the twelve defining characteristics of “relational contracts,” the central theme upon which the model is built. Literature used to define and ground each characteristic factor is synthesized into a conceptual framework then illustrated and applied in the context of design-build with Case studies and Delphi data. The value of the conceptual model is then highlighted through application to current design-build procedures. The conceptual model provides practitioners a perspective to better understand their past projects and a tool to tailor design-build to their current projects.