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Design-Build Best Practices

In the design-build construction industry, where projects are managed from conception to completion by a single entity, the question often arises: Should the same entity handle both the architecture and construction aspects? However, for legal and ethical reasons, it is generally considered best, and illegal in most states, for design-build construction companies to utilize a separate entity for architecture. This article explores the advantages of maintaining this separation, highlighting the importance of legal compliance, ethical practices, and the overall quality of construction projects.

Compliance with Regulations

By utilizing a separate entity for architecture in design-build construction companies, legal compliance becomes more straightforward. The construction industry is subject to various laws, building codes, zoning regulations, and licensing requirements. Architecture is a highly regulated profession with specific standards and regulations governing the design process. A separate architectural entity ensures that designs are created and reviewed by professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in adhering to these regulations. This separation helps mitigate legal risks and ensures that projects meet all necessary requirements and standards.

Conflict of Interest Avoidance

Separating the architectural and construction functions within a design-build construction company helps avoid potential conflicts of interest. Design decisions should prioritize the best interests of the client, considering factors such as aesthetics, functionality, and compliance with building codes. When a single entity is licensed in architecture and construction, conflicts can arise when decisions are influenced by financial considerations rather than design integrity. Maintaining separate entities and licenses for each ensures that architects can focus solely on creating the best possible designs while construction professionals concentrate on executing those designs faithfully even though the Design-build entity can be the single point of contact for all client request. 

Preservation of Design Integrity

Architecture is a creative discipline that requires a deep understanding of aesthetics, functionality, and user experience. By engaging a separate architectural entity, design-build construction companies can ensure that the integrity of architectural designs is preserved throughout the construction process. Architects, being specialists in design, can dedicate their expertise and attention to developing innovative and high-quality designs. Construction professionals, in turn, can focus on executing those designs efficiently and accurately, without compromising on the original intent or diluting the architectural vision.

Enhanced Accountability

Utilizing a separate architectural entity in design-build construction companies promotes accountability within the project. It allows for clear roles and responsibilities, making it easier to assign accountability in case of errors, disputes, or delays. By clearly defining the responsibilities of each entity, potential issues can be addressed more effectively. Architects can be held accountable for design-related matters, while the construction entity can be responsible for executing the project according to the approved plans. This clear division of accountability helps resolve conflicts more efficiently and ensures that all parties are held responsible for their respective areas of expertise.

Ethical Practices and Transparency

Separating architecture and construction functions within a design-build construction company promotes ethical practices and transparency. Architects are bound by professional ethics, including the obligation to prioritize the best interests of their clients and the public. Construction professionals, on the other hand, must adhere to ethical practices such as fair competition, transparent pricing, and compliance with industry standards. By maintaining separate entities, ethical standards can be better enforced, reducing the potential for conflicts of interest, corruption, or unethical behavior.


Maintaining a separate architectural entity in design-build construction companies brings numerous advantages in terms of legal compliance, design integrity, accountability, and ethical practices. By leveraging the expertise of specialized professionals in their respective fields, construction projects can benefit from enhanced quality, legal compliance, and ethical standards. The separation of architecture and construction functions within a design-build construction company ensures that designs are developed with creativity and expertise, while construction is executed with precision and attention to detail. Ultimately, this separation contributes to the successful completion of projects that meet regulatory requirements, satisfy client expectations, and contribute positively to the built environment.

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