Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Innovative Contracting - Design-build
Description, benefits and drawbacks of design-build.  Includes links to completed, current and prospective design-build projects. 

Innovative Contracting Home

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Innovative contracting staff

Completed Projects

Hiawatha Light Rail

Highways 10/32 Hawley

Projects Under Construction

ROC 52 ( Rochester)

I-494 Metro

Trunk Highway 212

Trunk Highway 52 Oronoco

Innovative Contracting


Report 2000-2005



Design-build brings designers and contractors together early in the detail design portion of a project.  The owner clearly defines the standards and general specifications they expect.  The design-build team must meet the owner's expectations;  they may develop innovative and efficient solutions to meet those expectations.

Design-build differs from traditional methods by overlapping design and construction, allowing construction to begin after only a portion of the design has been completed.  There's also a different approach to risk management and project responsibilities.


  • Shortened completion time by overlapping design and construction
  • Construction can begin before all design details are final
  • Greater innovation and flexibility in selecting design, materials and construction methods
  • Reduced claims due to design errors because construction happens under same contract
  • Accelerated response time and dispute resolution through a team effort
  • Single contact point for quality, cost and schedule from design through construction
  • Shortened project delivery time which can reduce user costs
  • Use of best-value project award selection criteria which evaluates both technical and financial elements


  • High learning curve because design-build changes stakeholders' roles
  • Parties are familiar with traditional methods
  • Bidding process more expensive for design-build teams
  • Coordination is more challenging due to faster pace