Architect Led Design-Built – Ideal solution for Cooperative and Small Housing Projects at New Town

Updated: Jun 9

by Ar. Abhishek Dutta


In one of our previous (almost 5 years old) blog, we had discussed the “CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT: PROBLEMS FOR PLOT-OWNERS AT NEW TOWN, KOLKATA” (we strongly suggest you read that first before reading this one). This blog was very popular and we received a lot of phone calls and emails with appreciation, suggestions and some for further clarification. Many plot owners asked about the best possible solution for the issues we had discussed.

Also through our experience of working in the New Town area for last 14 years as architects, Landscape Architects, Interior Designers and Project management consultants

G+9 Cooperative Housing New Town 32 member under NKDA

Design-Build is the project delivery method where the design and construction aspects are performed under the strict control of a design focused renowned architect.


One of the oldest forms of construction (the Architect – ‘Sthapati’ the “master builder” approach), Design-Build continues to grow in popularity because of its many benefits:

Benefits to owners

  1. Owner’s risk is minimized with single-source responsibility.

  2. The schedule is reduced with the design and construction phases overlapping, and bidding phase eliminated.

  3. Costs are evaluated constantly as construction personnel are engaged early in the process.

  4. Speed of completion

  5. Greater cost savings and earlier cost certainty

  6. “Value Engineering” at conceptual stages rather than too late, after project design is complete

  7. Better communication

  8. Fewer disputes and litigation

  9. Higher quality outcomes

  10. Clear roles, responsibilities, and accountability

  11. Less administrative burden

  12. Reduced risk to the client (because the design-build entity assumes more)

  13. Reduced risk to design consultants and subcontractors which result in lower construction costs, greater efficiencies and fewer litigation claims.

Benefits to Architect

  1. Control over the design, cost and flexibility of design betterment even at after sampling, ensuring his best vision is executed.

  2. Easy quality monitoring & greater control.

  3. Creative Satisfaction.

  4. Streamlined team communication, so less administration, fewer litigation claims, greater market share as more owners choose this approach.



Overall benefits

Design-build architects learn from experience in a dynamic, live process during an evolving project, to achieve design goals and yield authentic outcomes: From


experience, they are able to work with placeholders, anticipating when to defer design decisions and trusting that as open-ended options become limited and details more precise, a robust, appropriate authentic design can and will emerge. In this sense, design-build is as much an art as it is a tried and trusted methodology.


  1. Owners remain involved and therefore are able to contribute throughout their projects. Because of the process, they are able to make informed decisions at the opportune times, which results in better buildings that meet their needs in meaningful ways.

  2. Subcontractors are respected as team members and can perform their work more efficiently, effectively and profitably. Unknowns in their work are reduced so that they are better positioned to be financially successful.

  3. Architects gain and share knowledge in their community of practice

  4. Conflict is reduced or resolved at low cost

  5. Costs and quality are controlled

  6. As more “trouble free” high-quality buildings are bid, architects will gain respect and have more impact on the built environment

In all fairness, Design-Build does have some issues:


  1. Design-Build does not usually make use of competitive bidding 

  2. Subjective selection process.

  3. Difficult to coordinate properly for publicly funded projects.


For privately funded projects, it seems to me that ALL of the “cons” are outweighed by the “pros” IF the Client has a better-than-average level of TRUST in the Design-Builder.  And, trust is noticeably lacking in today’s economic climate. The “design-builder” has, in recent history, been the general contractors or engineers in best case scenario. However, in a growing number of cases, the Design-Builder can also be the Architect, who, in most cases, is very interested in a great design outcome.

The Owners of New Town have experienced the horror of Design-Bid-Build, and long for an easier, quicker, cleaner method.  I firmly believe that by allowing the Architect to provide single-source responsibility for the project – design and construction – the Client has a greater chance of obtaining a successful project and architect also gets a deeper sense of satisfaction as his/her design creation takes the exact shape it deserves to get.




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About the author:  Ar. Abhishek Dutta, Founder Partner of ArcOn Design, is one of most renowned architects of the region. This Jadavpur University alumnus is gold medalist and CoA National Award winner for his thesis on "Transformable Multi-functional Residence". He has also won the National Level First Prize for Housing Innovation Challenge 2015. A noted academician and editor of Indian Institute of Architects, West Bengal chapter, has been selected (along with his Partner Ar. (Mrs.) Susweta Dutta) among the TOP 50, next-generation architect of India by A&I. 






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