The term “design-build” is just a few decades old. It was coined in 1993 by the newly created Design-Build Institute of America as a word for a project delivery method that integrates design and construction.

But the design-build method has actually been applied to construction for thousands of years. In 40 BCE, an engineer named Vitruvius wrote a handbook that revealed that one individual was typically responsible for both design and construction in Roman architecture.

“Design-build is the fastest-growing method used to deliver construction projects in America,” says Ryan Graham, vice president of Honolulu firm Graham Builders. “Nearly half the new projects in this country are constructed through design-build. It simply outperforms other methods in terms of cost, speed of delivery and reduced risk for homeowners.”

With the traditional method of construction (sometimes called design-bidbuild), the homeowner hires an architect to create a new design, and then solicits construction bids from contractors and subcontractors.


Through the design-build delivery method, the homeowner works with one company that handles the design, estimating and construction functions.

“When Graham Builders takes on a project, we’re responsible for the entire thing: the design, the costs, how quickly it’s built and the appearance of the completed project,” says Graham. As he explains, there are multiple benefits to this delivery method.


“Right out of the gate, you save time on due diligence,” Graham says. “You only have to research one company, instead of the design company, the general contractor and maybe even the subcontractors.”

Design-build projects typically are turned around faster than traditional builds because communication flows faster when all players are from the same team.

“It’s inherently more efficient. We can manage time-lines easily and make decisions quickly. And if the need arises during construction, we can often modify plans without additional fees.”



Typically, cost control is simpler on design-build projects.

“Working with a company that employs its own designer, estimator, and construction team means that costs can be calculated as your design, and potential cost drivers can be identified early in the planning stages,” says Graham. “And we can provide accurate estimates of expenses for materials, labor, subcontractors, permitting, utilities, landscaping and other aspects of a project.”

With design-build projects, the homeowner risks no liability for errors and omissions in the plans, as they would if they chose the traditional design-bid-build method for their construction.


With a close-knit team that includes architects, engineers, project managers, estimators, and construction professionals and craftsmen, and with the benefit of many long-standing relationships with reliable subcontractors, Graham Builders offers expert, cohesive guidance at all stages of a project.

“When there’s a problem, large or small, our team naturally collaborates to find a solution,” says Graham. “We’re all in this together, involved in the same project from start to finish, and we all have the same goal.”


Over the past 30 years, Graham Builders has remodeled, renovated, and built homes for hundreds of Oahu families with diverse lifestyles, needs, and expectations. You are invited to register for their free “Building Your Home for Life” seminar on Saturday, July 10, at, or call 808-593-2808.

CONTACT 808-593-2808
ADDRESS 1144 Young St., Honolulu