Understanding Design-Build and its Benefits to Your Next Project
Have you heard the term “design-build” in your search to find a contractor for a remodel or new home construction? It’s an industry term used to describe a method of delivering a project. When you’re deciding how or who to contract for a home renovation or new build, it’s important to know your options and how to get the best results.
Traditionally, construction projects follow a method where the client appoints a builder on one side and designer on the other. You’ll have a blueprint or design provided by a professional designer or architect, then hand over that vision to a construction or build company to make it into a reality.
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 worldwide because it changes the traditional sequence of work, which in turn, provides many benefits to you, the client.
WE’RE ON THE SAME TEAM
In a design-build company, 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. This is a huge benefit for the client and the success of the project as a whole. The project success is anchored by one goal, one accountability, one delivery.
Communication between designer and builder is critical, yet these professionals are often hired to do their job solely and are not involved in decisions that lie outside their responsibility. For example, a designer’s vision might have included a type of material that ends up sending the budget way out of reach once the builder receives quotes. In this case, the designer (paid at an hourly rate) may have to make changes to the plan that will affect timelines and other aspects of the final completion. 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.
BUDGETS BUILT FOR TRANSPARENCY AND ACCURACY
With a design-build approach, project costs can be budgeted for much earlier in the process. 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 in the design phase. The cost of absolutely everything (like labour, materials, and other fees) is identified and included in the budgeting conversation with clients. This helps eliminate “going back to the drawing board” once clients see the price tag on various construction aspects or design features of the project. It doesn’t take much for costs to creep way out of scope if the architect or designer and building teams are not using a holistic project approach to budgeting. A design-build methodology works to set the course for the entire project budget, early and with greater accuracy.
A ONE-STOP-SHOP APPROACH
If you choose the right design-build company, your project will get the attention of incredible design and builder talent, all in one place. Instead of getting referrals, researching, vetting, interviewing and checking accreditations for two entities (on the design and construction sides), your proposal will come from one company and include insights and plans for the design and the execution in all phases.
Responsibilities can be clearly defined which can lead to better risk management. Typical risks to a project are time/efficiency, cost, general organization/project management, transparency and communication, etc. A one-stop-shop design-build approach cuts out a lot of back and forth, simplifying the entire project workflow.