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Design-build is a type of contracting service that has grown increasingly popular in recent years not just in the U.S., but worldwide. It brings two essential aspects of construction — design and build — into one single contract. The design aspect involves architectural and planning tasks, while the build phase covers construction and labor.
Because of its one-stop-shop concept, design-build is seen by many as a convenient and cost-effective way to have a home or small commercial establishment constructed or remodeled. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at why design-build continues to gain popularity among property owners. We’ll also give you some tips on how to make the most of your design-build project should you decide to invest in one.
FROM START TO FINISH: In a design-build contract, one company takes care of everything from design to labor.
The Basics of Design-Build Service
A design-build company basically brings design and construction professionals together under one roof to efficiently collaborate on projects. Because of design-build’s collaborative model, schedule delays, going over budget and other issues that commonly plague design-bid-build contracts are eliminated.
Design-build contracts are usually written and provided by the company or contractor primarily in charge of the design. Because of the nature of the service, this contractor is also responsible for the execution of the design. Typically, the price of the contract includes the following:
- Design and planning service
- Preparation of needed permits
- Construction labor
- Building materials
In a design-build contract, the designers and builders work hand-in-hand to develop construction design, drawings, and plans. Together, they analyze the design to come up with the most logical construction sequence to finish the project in the most efficient manner. In a design-build contract, the work is broken down into phases to make sure that every aspect is given sufficient time and attention. One phase needs to be completed before proceeding to the next.
To cater to the unique needs of clients, some design-build companies allow variations to their contracts, which include but may not be limited to the following:
- Bridging: This happens when the client hired a different contractor to start the project, with 30-50% of the job already completed.
- Turnkey: The client entrusts the entire project to the design-build company, who in turn will just turn over the keys upon project completion.
- Design-Build-Warranty: In this type of contract, a warranty provision is added.
- Design-Build-Maintain: In this type of contract, a maintenance service is added.
The Benefits of Design-Build Contracts
Design-build services continue to gain popularity because they provide the following benefits:
- There’s just one point of contact. As the property owner, you will appreciate the convenience of dealing with just one company rather than going back and forth between multiple service providers and product suppliers. This way, you’ll only have one number to call for all your questions or concerns regarding the project.
- Communication is faster and clearer. As there is only one point of contact, back-and-forth communication between the architect and owner, owner and contractor, and contractor and architect is eliminated. This allows for the more effective and efficient execution of tasks.
- Clear designation of responsibility. Since design-build companies are fully integrated, property owners only need to deal with one entity for their concerns. For instance, if the client notices something that doesn’t strictly adhere to the terms of the contract, he or she can simply ask the project manager about it. In the traditional design-bid-build setup, contractors might say that the fault is in the design, while the architect or designer might say that it is a builder In a design-build setup, everyone involved in the project is accountable. Should anything go wrong, the company will handle everything.
FULL INTEGRATION AND COLLABORATION: Design-build companies work as a team. Designers and builders work together to finish projects more efficiently.
- Better quality of work. In design-build contracts, the quality of work is better controlled from design to finish. This is a result of the effective collaboration between the designer and builders. After all, the client will have no one else to blame for a poor job but the design-build company; the company needs to uphold its reputation by ensuring that their work is of superior quality.
- The project will be completed within the set budget. As the budget is determined during the early stages of planning and development, a smooth transition between all phases of the construction can be better ensured. The designer can develop a design based on the client’s budget and the builder’s input in terms of material prices and labor costs.
- Efficient scheduling. Since all of the aspects of the project would have been determined at the primary stages, execution and completion will be continuous, reducing if not totally eliminating the occurrence of delays.
FOR VARIOUS TYPES OF PROJECTS: Design-build services can be used for both remodeling and new construction.
How to Make the Most of Your Design-Build Project
To make sure that you get the most value out of your design-build project, you first need to define the scope of the project you want to be done, as well as your budget. Whether your goal is to remodel a kitchen, refinish a basement or build an entirely new home, you should have a clear idea of what you want to do and how much you can afford to spend. This way, you can clearly discuss your expectations with your chosen contractor.
And speaking of your contractor, you’d do well to find a licensed and trusted company that specializes in design-build contracts. Of course, they should have in-house architects and designers, as well as a team of qualified construction workers. Sit down with this team to discuss your goals and budget, and see what they can recommend for you to get the best value out of your investment.
Crayton Coan believes that committed people and effective communications are the two things that make great companies great. Crayton enjoys sharing his home remodeling knowledge and telling the Case story as part of his job because he knows how passionate and committed the Case Home Remodeling team is about helping homeowners achieve their goals.