The following comes from "Design-Build: Planning through Development" available for purchase here.
As students of architectural history, we recall the ancient master builders or master masons: Ictinus and Callicrates, builders of the Parthenon in Athens; Abbe Suger for his twelfth century Gothic Royal Abbey Church of Saint Denis, outside Paris; and Filippo Brunelleschi for the Dome of the Florence Cathedral in the early fifteenth century. They each provided a seamless service that included what we now refer to as design and construction, or more recently as design-build.
The singular responsibility for design and construction had been codified long before these master builders in Hammurabi’s Code. The Roman writer, engineer and architect, Vitruvius, wrote the original design handbook in 40 B.C.E. The handbook assumes that the responsibilities for design and construction were vested in a single individual.
Well into the nineteenth century, architects continued to retain responsibility for both design and construction. The Industrial Revolution, however, had a profound effect on how design and the construction were organized. Because of the complexity of new industrial facilities, design expertise and specialization were required of the designers, but not to the same degree from the builders. As people moved into cities, a standardized system of drawings and written instructions was employed so designers (whose services did not have to be performed locally) could communicate to builders. The Industrial Revolution also called for dividing the production process into basic, individual tasks. The dramatic difference between the intellectual process of design and the physical act of construction made the design and construction industry easy to split. Once designers and builders had separated, professional societies such as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) formed. These organizations were symptomatic of the attempts by the design professionals to separate themselves from the sometimes corrupt builders of the era.
A significant cause of the absolute separation of the design professions from the construction trades in America was, and remains, the Miller Act of 1935. This law requires a contractor on a federal project exceeding $100,000 to post two bonds: a performance bond and a labor and material payment bond. Additionally, states and almost all local jurisdictions have enacted legislation requiring surety bonds on public work projects. Public contract laws also tend to mandate a separation of design and construction services. The first architectural licensing laws were passed in the United States in 1897. Now, in each of the states, the professions of architect and engineer are regulated for the protection of the public. In most instances, professional licensing laws do not require that design and construction be separate functions, but like the public procurement regulations, they reflect the prevailing practice at the time they were first enacted.
The Advent of Modern Design-Builders
Technically more demanding building systems, and systems for the concealed distribution of power, lighting and telephones, required responsible designers to coordinate their efforts with builders. This led to the development of construction management (CM) procedures. This delivery method was an improvement, but still lacked the single point of responsibility that owners sought. The first use of public funds involving the design-build process in the United States probably occurred in Indiana where an assistant superintendent of public instruction convinced a small community to purchase a school building by the design-build method. The early 1970s saw competitive design-build procurement utilized by several public agencies, primarily in the area of educational facilities and university dormitories. In an action that brings public contracting for buildings and infrastructure project full circle, the U.S. federal government, in 1997, modified its Federal Acquisition Regulations to include new regulations for design-build procurement (read about DBIA’s role in this here