Chapter 2 What are project delivery methods?

The delivery of a construction project is a complex process involving a number of parties. The parties involved are owners or developers (commonly known in the industry as ‘principals‘), architects, engineers and other consultants and main builders (known as ‘contractors’) and their subcontractors and suppliers.

Project delivery methods are the methods used to take the design and construction of a project from its conception to its completion and handover to the principal.

Through an understanding of the different project delivery methods an informed decision can be made as to which is the best method for a particular project. Appropriate contractual arrangements can then be adopted.

Choosing the right project delivery method for a project will not ensure success, but it should go some way towards avoiding disputes and time or cost blow-outs.

The main project delivery methods

There are a number of different methods of project delivery used in the construction industry.

The following methods are ‘traditional’ and commonly used:

  • construct only (also known as ‘fully designed’ or ‘fully documented’);
  • design and construct (D&C); and
  • project management or construction management.

Other popular project delivery models include alliancing and early contractor involvement (ECI).

In the energy and resources sectors it is common to also use:

  • engineer, procure and construct (EPC); and
  • engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM).

What are the distinguishing features of these various methods?