Design-build contractors are a growing segment of the remodeling and renovation landscape of the construction industry. As the name suggests, a design-build company takes care of the design and the construction phases of a remodeling project. Traditionally, the process involved homeowners working with a designer or an architect before taking those plans over to a general contractor to carry out the concept–now, those specialties exist under one roof. It’s a more refined approach to construction, incorporating a team working together from start to finish with ample, open communication and a common focus to deliver an otherwise unachievable result. It’s the idea that when owners sit at the same table with architects, builders, engineers, and estimators of all backgrounds, the best ideas are born.
Design-build is rapidly becoming a project standard for delivery. In fact, according to Construction Dive, it’s anticipated that it will deliver almost half of all U.S. projects in 2021. Design-build is one of the most advanced methods of project delivery and is quickly becoming the industry standard for renovation.
How Does Design-Build Differ from Traditional Models?
With the traditional method, owners must manage two (or more) separate contracts in which the owner becomes the intermediary and must settle disputes between the designer and contractor. This fosters an antagonistic affiliation between the parties, which the owner has to mediate. This is not idyllic for most homeowners, as it can create animosity between the two parties. With the design-build model, the owner needs only to manage a single contract with the general contractor. Everyone on the design-build team is focused on the end product of the project and cohesion, rather than sparking turf wars.
The Design-Build process has five main phases:
- Selecting a Design-Build Contractor
- Pre-Construction Assessments
- Architectural Design
Choosing a Design-Builder
This method begins when you select your Design-Builder. Choose the Design-Builder with the best credentials, experience, expertise, and team for your needs. You can also use a best-value selection method, in which you choose a Design-Builder based on a mixture of estimated price and added value in addition to their experience, expertise, and credentials. Our recommendation is to avoid using a cost or low-bid choice process. The reason why? Design-Builders deliver the best value by assessing budget solutions early in the design process and by creating continuous price estimates as the design evolves. Restricting your prospective builders to hard-dollar bids before they have an opportunity to get into the project can lead to misleading and uncertain estimates. Even worse, it can mean a project that doesn’t deliver what you need or you come across more roadblocks during the remodeling process.
There’s no clear definition as to what a design-build firm is and who is in their employ. Usually, a firm will either be more design-forward, in which they are primarily led by an architect or a designer, or construction-forward, with a general contractor taking the reins. Of course, some firms can be an even balance of both.
If you choose Design-Build, it’s more vital than ever that you select an honest, experienced builder you can trust. At Gordon Reese Design Build, we pride ourselves on ensuring your next renovation or remodel is as transparent and straightforward as possible, communicating the unique ins and outs of your personal project to you. Give us a call to book a consultation for your next project.