Which build process will you use for your project?

There are four main build processes which you should consider in the very initial stages of beginning a building development. This overview provides a very general guide to the advantages and disadvantages of each model. Please keep in mind that this could vary significantly from project to project. They are as follows:

Architect + tender process

(Also known as construct only)

This is an Architect-driven process where the builder is doing as instructed on site with a specified outcome. Level of client input required will vary depending on the amount of responsibility given to the Architect as the overall project manager.


  • Qualified personnel used at every stage of the process delivering a highly professional outcome.
  • Limited exposure to corrupt business practices if handled correctly – providing a fair and equitable process.
  • Particularly suited to large organisations, governments and projects where a high level of documentation is essential.
  • Principal retains full control over the design.


  • Typically a lengthy process as it involves coordination of many design facets from different businesses. This can derail a project due to missing a window of opportunity.
  • Potential for cost blowout after significant commitment has been made.
  • Client is liable for any design ambiguities resulting in any extra building costs.
  • Builder has little incentive to provide cost-saving solutions
  • In some projects out-of-touch specification of products and lack of cost-effective building methods result in significantly higher finished build cost, with little real advantage for the client.
  • A comparatively high design cost.
  • Process doesn’t always go according to plan. Initial cost estimates may be unrealistic and some design features may not be achievable.

Design and construct process

This is a builder-driven process – where the Builder takes the client’s requirements and creates a solution, a finished cost and takes responsibility for the design, to ensure all three factors come together. Generally, a client creates a list of requirements and an initial design concept showing non-negotiable options, and the builder creates the construction design within this set of guidelines.

Advantages :

  • Typically, this is a more cost effective solution as the builder drives the design with construction efficiencies and general ‘buildability’ in mind from the outset.
  • Particularly suited to relatively simple projects with a lower documentation requirement.
  • If handled correctly, can be a much faster overall solution.
  • Tends to place the risk on the builder rather than the client.

Disadvantages :

  • Difficulty to compare quotes as each builder quotes to his design
  • Final outcome may be sacrificed on the principle of price.

Keep in mind:

  • If design guidelines are set correctly, you have no reason to expect a lesser quality design.
  • The principal may need to employ a project manager to manage this process depending on their experience. Consider this carefully as the cost of project manager could easily be offset by poor decisions due to inexperience.

Project and construction management

In this case, the client (or principal) appoints a project manager who contracts out the individual components of the project – including design, consultation and various phases of construction.

Advantages :

  • Client retains a very high level of input at all the stages.
  • Can be very attractive option to fast-track a project when you need to commence and the detailed designs of later stages are yet to be finalised.
  • A useful model where the scope of works is uncertain at the outset or the project is very large and complex.

Disadvantages :

  • There is not always a clear single point of accountability
  • The principal takes on a much higher level of risk

The Cyclo process

We are happy to work with any of the commonly used models and negotiate variations and combinations of them as suits individual clients.

You can however use the CYCLO Process to your advantage. At Cyclo we give you an initial design and accurate costs up front. We have in-house designers, and Project Managers and we employ staff who actually perform the core building works and who have relationships with consultants and specialised trades who we coordinate along with other works. We are really acting as a whole-project-manager for you but employ the team to actually execute this – and it offers some serious synergies. We don’t pretend to be all things to everyone – but in our chosen fields of expertise we have many clients who can testify to the effectiveness of the system.

Advantages :

  • Significant project delivery time advantages
  • We allocate designers and project managers who have experience in your industry, whether it be a medical practice, a veterinary clinic fitout, a corporate office or a childcare centre.
  • Little or no risk to the principal. We give fixed price quotations.
  • Potentially very little input required from the principal.
  • Can fast track a project where designs and scope is not finalised
  • Final costs are clear at all stages of the project (subject to scope creep!)

We have every incentive to give you the edge through our breakthrough thinking, up-front and to your full advantage.