Design-build method hovers half of nonresidential construction spending

FMI Consulting forecasts continued growth of design-build project delivery over the next three years, despite recent industry challenges and market volatility. Researchers behind the FMI Design-Build Institute of America Mid-Cycle Update Report assess construction spending across four U.S. Census Bureau regions in respective building and nonbuilding segments: manufacturing, commercial, educational, office and health care; and, highway/street, transportation and water/wastewater. Among their findings: 

  • Design-build is anticipated to represent up to 47 percent of construction spending in the noted segments and geographies in 2026.
  • Total growth in design-build construction spending is projected to pace 22.5 percent from 2022 to 2026. Design-build is anticipated to account for $1.9 trillion of construction spending in the assessed building and infrastructure segments over the 2022-2026 forecast period.
  • The majority of respondents to the FMI DBIA Mid-Cycle survey (83 percent) indicate design-build can help them with supply chain issues over other delivery methods.
  • Highway/street (18 percent), educational (13 percent) and manufacturing (14 percent) are anticipated to hold the greatest share of design-build spending through 2026. Together, the transportation and highway/street sectors are expected to represent 27 percent of design-build spending by 2026. 
  • Water/wastewater is the smallest segment of spending but fastest growing.
  • Over three-quarters of survey respondents believe that design-build facilitates greater utilization of prefabrication on projects.
  • Competitive Best Value, Progressive Design-Build and Qualifications-Based Selection account for a majority of the procurement approaches among survey respondents, all three enabling project principals better cost uncertainty management that Low Bid in volatile market environment. 
The new report is posted at

Building on a 2021 FMI design-build utilization study, the DBIA Mid-Cycle Update Report reexamines the industry following challenges of the past three years, including disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic, labor shortages and supply chain issues. The flexibility and collaboration inherent in design-build uniquely position the project delivery method to resist stagnation. The projected decrease in the design-bid-build method alongside growth in the design-build alternative demonstrates the industry is moving toward collaboration as a norm and an expectation.

“With the positive projections in this update, design-build will be integral to keeping our nation’s infrastructure projects moving forward,” says DBIA Executive Director and CEO Lisa Washington, CAE. “Over the last three years, we’ve seen design-build withstand the uncertainty of a volatile market and continue to demonstrate optimal results.”