Building your dream house: choosing the right partner
Once you’ve made the decision to move forward on a new build home or cottage, the next step is choosing a partner to execute your vision. This is where most people ask for referrals, search through reputable local associations, and/or use an online portfolio to narrow down their short list. The choice is both personal and professional.
In your search, you’ll come across the term “design-build”—it’s an industry term to describe a method of delivering a project. When you’re deciding how, or who to partner with for your new home build, it’s important to know your options, the differences in the approach and how to get the best results.
The Traditional Approach: Picking Your Teams
Traditionally, construction projects follow a method where the client appoints a builder on one side and designer (or architect) on the other. You’ll have a blueprint–or design–provided by a professional on the design side, then that vision is handed over to a construction or build company to turn it into reality.
Sometimes, the designer will have a handful of preferred contractors for their clients to choose from—people they feel comfortable with. But, more often the case, the designer and contractor eventually are at odds about budget, design vision, materials, timelines, resources etc. That’s because, the designer’s job is to create (on paper) a masterpiece blueprint for your dream home, and won’t always have the same awareness as a builder about budget and the reality of the project scope.
It’s important when choosing teams, to get more than one quote for the work (if the traditional approach is chosen) before selecting the builder. However, work this step into your timeline because you may find that the project has been “over designed” (not at all within a realistic budget) and that time will have been lost if you require a re-start/design.
Design-Build: One Team, One Goal
A design-builder is a single entity that takes care of the entire project from concepts and blueprints to construction down to the final paint touch-ups. This approach is becoming more and more common industry-wide because it changes the traditional sequence of work, which in turn, provides many benefits, to the client.
In a design-build approach, the design and builder teams work together to achieve the same goals. This method creates a singular responsibility and accountability among all team members. With the same goal driving the team towards a successful project outcome, when challenges are encountered there is less friction or finger pointing. Instead, everyone works together to use their areas of expertise to find the best solutions.
Communication between designer and builder is critical, yet often times these professionals are hired to do their job solely and are not involved in decisions that lie outside their responsibility. A design-build company allows for the two teams to come together and make decisions based on sound two-way communication, with expertise from both sides.
When the same company that designs the project is also responsible for the construction, there tends to be a lot more attention given to pricing and scheduling upfront in the design phase. This helps to eliminate “going back to the drawing board” once clients see the price tag on various construction aspects or design features of the project.
If you choose the right design-build partner, your project will get the attention of incredible design and builder talent, all in one place. Your proposal will come from one company and include insights and plans for the design and the execution in all phases. A one-stop-shop design-build approach cuts out a lot of the risks associated with miscommunication, transparency, and task and budget management—simplifying the entire project workflow.