Selecting the right Design-Build contractor

Choosing a Design-Build firm with the right experience and project approach is crucial to gaining the benefits of the delivery method


Here are the Top 5 Questions you should ask when selecting a Design-Builder.

1. Does the design-builder bring the right people to deliver the project?

At Carl A. Nelson & Company (CANCO), we have been performing Design-Build projects since the 1970s. Our project managers — made up of degreed construction engineers, construction managers and industrial technologists — average more than 20 years in the construction industry, while our project superintendents average more than 25 years of experience in the field. With our team, we have completed numerous, large and highly technical projects for clients in a range of industrial markets such as food production, seed and grain handling, warehouses and distribution, laboratories and more. 

Our track record on Design-Build projects enables us to partner with top design firms for architectural services, as well as MEPT, civil and structural engineering. We also have found the ability on Design-Build projects to attract engagement from subcontractors willing to be part of this team approach.

Our Design-Build services are supported by Nelson Design, Inc., a wholly owned CANCO subsidiary that is capable of providing Code Review, BIM coordination and a full range of project design services.

2. Does the design-builder have the infrastructure to support these people?

Carl A. Nelson & Company employs the technologies and processes necessary to achieve success as your Design-Build project leader. In both the office and the field, we use Primavera and SureTrak software to plan, schedule and execute your project. Our Sage/Timberline accounting software enables us to track project costs as they occur, allowing our project managers and superintendents to control costs on the job to ensure the project stays within the established budget.

3. Does the design-builder have the organizational skills to manage the process?

At our heart, we are planners. At Carl A. Nelson & Company, we use our training and experience to anticipate situations and manage them for the best outcome. We self-perform our own structural excavation, concrete, carpentry, and building erection work. This gives us the hands-on experience to understand and select optimal building systems, and the means and methods of construction for your project. We take an active role in all aspects of the project to ensure your goals are being accomplished.

4. Do I trust the design-builder’s people?

Based on 80% and more of our annual sales in Design-Build projects coming from repeat business, Carl A. Nelson & Company is able to report our clients do trust us to complete their projects on-time, on-budget and with the quality they have come to expect. We are happy to provide references to prospective clients.

5. Knowing that communication and working relationships will drive the process, do I feel that the design-builder will be open and honest with all aspects of the project?

Carl A. Nelson, the Swedish immigrant who established our firm in 1913, built his business on a reputation for quality construction and fair-dealing in the marketplace. Today, employee-owned Carl A. Nelson & Company works hard to maintain that reputation, and to build on it from one project and one client to the next. We do so by focusing on our core values, which are: 

  • Fairness & Honesty
  • Quality Workmanship
  • Service Second to None