Building a new home or renovating - a guide to procurement methods

Whether you’re building a new home entirely from scratch or making structural alterations, the construction procurement method you choose will impact the speed, cost, quality, and execution of the project.

This guide to construction procurement methods offers an impartial look at the three main techniques and how they could impact the design, delivery and risk management of a project.

An introduction to construction procurement

For residential new builds or renovations, there are three main construction procurement routes: Traditional, Design & Build, and Construction Management.

Each method strives to achieve the same goal - a completed residential dwelling that meets the needs and objectives of the client and/or the end user.

The key difference boils down to the nature and complexity of the works, the size of the project and the client's appetite for risk and responsibility.

Here's a summary of each method below...


Traditional (design-bid-build) is one of the most common and longstanding methods of construction procurement where the project is split between the design and construction stage.

An architect or consultant is appointed by the client to handle aspects of the building’s design and prepare tender documents. The client then separately appoints a building contractor to deliver the physical construction.

Whilst overseeing the project on the client's behalf, the architect or consultant project manager is appointed to administer the terms of the contract during the construction phase, until delivery of the finished building.

The Client retains responsibility during this phase. Any changes or variance to what has been agreed could cause delays and uplifts in costs.

This method of procurement is popular because the risk of delays and overspend is deemed low, depending on getting the design right from the outset, in addition to setting realistic construction timescales and costings.

Design and Build

The Design and Build tendering process can be split into a single or two-stage process to aid with design development and cost surety.

This method can offer faster results, as the design doesn't need to be fully developed prior to works starting. However, this route is often unsuited to projects that involve a higher degree of complexity.

The contractor presents a plan, based on the client's brief, and quotes a fixed cost for the project. A large proportion of the design, combined with the construction phase, is picked up by the contractor. As the contractor is assuming the design risk liability, design and build tenders can work out more expensive than traditional tenders.

Generally, on smaller projects, opting for the design and build method of procurement means you’ll need to commit to the cost of the project far earlier in the process, and any changes you may make later are likely to work out more expensive. 

Construction Management

For this method, works are constructed by multiple ‘Trade Contractors’ which are individually contracted via the client.

The client is undertaking the role of the main contractor and will need to appoint a construction manager to oversee the works, administering the terms of the individual contracts. 

Working alongside the client's design team, the construction manager can draw upon their buildability, logistical and technical construction experience, to help foresee and overcome any challenges on-site during the construction phase.

Construction Management offers a greater level of flexibility and control. It allows work to commence after the release of each individual design package, however, this comes at a greater level of risk.

Without a fixed cost or overall contractual timeframe, this can impact project outcomes. This route is best suited for experienced clients who want to have more involvement and control throughout the construction phase. 

Building or renovating a property in the South of England?

Sillence Hurn’s team of chartered building surveyors and project managers provide trusted expert advice and solutions to clients across London and the South-East. Whether you're building a new home, redeveloping, or extending - opting for a project manager from Sillence Hurn will give you:

- Peace of mind that your costs, quality, and timescales will be closely monitored.
- More time to focus on other areas of your business or life knowing that the objectives of your project are being delivered by a trusted professional.
- Compliance with the latest construction and property legislation from an RICS Regulated expert.

You can find out more information about our project management services here or speak to one of our experts today.


Disclaimer: Please note this article is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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