The owner hires the design-builder at the programming stage to provide all architectural, engineering, and design services. Single-source accountability and transparency between the owner, architect, construction team, and design-assist subcontractors minimizes cost, streamlines schedules, and reduces overall risk.

Design-Build features customizable options for each individual client. On larger and more complex projects, the owner may hire a bridging or criteria architect to define the program and schematic design. This brings clarity to the design-builder regarding size, scope, schedule, and key project elements. The design-builder can also provide the owner with turnkey contracting, assisting a public or quasi-public entity by providing a comprehensive design/build/finance package in exchange for future revenues under a public-private partnership. Integrated Project Delivery is a variation of Design-Build where the owner, architect, contractor, and design-assist subcontractors share all project risks and rewards.