Design & Build vs Traditional Procurement – Which is Best?

Aug 8, 2022

So, you’ve decided to transform your workspace, but you’re not sure whether to go down the traditional procurement route, or use design and build specialists; which option is the best choice?

The truth is that there is no objectively best choice, it all depends on your unique business and project.
However, it is worth noting that the method of build that you choose will affect every aspect of your refurbishment, from the design and construction to the overall cost and delivery speed.

That’s why it’s essential that you understand how each method differs, so you can make the best choice for your organisation.

In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each method, as well as diving into some
scenarios where you might choose one over the other.

What is traditional procurement?

Traditional procurement refers to the method of seeking out a set of specialists and bringing them together to work on the project.

This works if you have a specific idea for which consultants or experts you want to work with, such as architects, project managers, or interior designers.

The team you would need depends on the size and scope of your project, but a typical team
would include:

● A project manager
● An architect
● A mechanical and electrical consultant
● A quantity surveyor
● A structural engineer
● A cost consultant
● IT specialist
● Interior designer
● Furniture specialist

Consider traditional procurement as if you were bringing together your own team of specialists to complete your project.

Generally, traditional procurement follows three stages: design, bid and build.
In the design stage, you would directly negotiate with an architect, interior designer and construction contractor to establish your requirements. Once the designs are finalised, we move onto the…
…Bid stage. Here you take your designs to tender, choosing the best construction company
that aligns with your vision & who you believe can deliver the best results. Finally comes the…
…Build stage. At this stage, a team of contractors is assembled, and work begins!

The pros and cons of traditional procurement

Traditional procurement is named so as it is the traditional way of doing things. It can be a little cumbersome and time consuming, but allows more control over exactly who you work with.


You get somewhat more control over who you
choose to work with

Can be a slow process as there’s a lot of moving parts

Invest more into design (important if you have
extremely specific design demands)

Communication between parties can be lacking

Enjoy a more detailed cost comparison
between tendering parties

Requires an upfront investment of a
professional team

What is office design and build?

Design and build (D&B) is a turnkey approach to your workspace renovation. It refers to the method of selecting a company with an in-house team of specialists and consultants to fully manage your project.

This company handles everything from design through to build (as the name suggests!).

Rather than seeking out a specialist for each aspect of the project, all the individuals you need are working under one company, and you won’t be required to organise and manage them yourself.

Many businesses prefer this option as it significantly reduces the number of moving parts.

The roles required will be the same as a traditional team, such as a project manager and interior designers, and the overall process of the build remains the same. The only difference is that they are all employed by the same company, meaning that only one point of contact is required throughout the whole project.

The pros and cons of design and build

Design and build is a fantastic option for a business who wants the peace of mind that their new workspace is in safe hands and will be delivered on time, on budget and in spec.


D&B is the most cost-effective way to upgrade
your workspace (less expenditure on
professional fees)

You have less control over specific contractors
chosen to carry work out

A single point of contact maintains overall
accountability of your project

You won’t be able to see a true like-for-like
comparison of costs as you would with a tender

Is usually significantly faster (33% on average)
as there are less communication errors &
logistical faults

As there is only a single provider, you need to
be 100% certain that the team you choose are
up to the task

You can rest assured that costings will be
adhered to, as the budgets and designs are
mapped out in tandem

Reduce friction at all stages

Is design and build or traditional procurement best for you?

The best option for you depends on your requirements & industry.

Generally speaking, traditional procurement is best for high-spec organisations where precision is key. This might be a government facility (prison, etc.), a laboratory, or any other building where there is zero flexibility in the brief. Many of these organisations require specialist architecture skills that a D&B company may not be able to provide.

Traditional procurement is best when cost certainty can be realised later.

As the design and build process is centred around your budget, you get to set the brief and costings at the same time, meaning that D&B is preferable for any business looking for a hassle-free, budget-friendly solution. There’s no time wasted and there’s no friction from multiple contractors.

This makes D&B the most convenient option for SMEs or larger corporations looking who don’t want the frustration of managing the project themselves.

Reimagine your workspace with Rhino

Regardless of which route you choose for your office/workspace refurbishment or fit out, both options deliver stunning, highly effective workspaces. The main difference is how you get to that end goal.

Our agile approach at Rhino allows us to provide a turnkey design & build solution, or we’re able to easily factor into any ongoing project. We pride ourselves on being easy to work with; whatever your requirements, we can meet them.

If you need advice on choosing the best option for you, or if you have any other questions at
all, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our specialists today.

Looking for more? Read about the workspace of 2022, and the changes we expect to see through the
rest of the year by clicking here.

Round icons

It All Starts With a Conversation

If you have a question, if you are looking for some bespoke advice, get in touch with our experts today, we’d love to hear about your project.

For a no-obligation chat about your office needs, complete the form below and one of our specialists will be in touch.

    About us

    Case studies

    Contact us