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Understanding the Design-Build Process

Whether you are building a new home from scratch or you want to add on to your existing house, there are options on how to best proceed. A skilled general contractor may offer quality work yet might not have the ability to assist you in making decisions on project finance, permitting, materials, architecture, design, etc.

While it may make sense for owners who have very unique needs to vet, identify, collaborate and connect with sub-contractors, individual contractors, architects, and designers, few individuals have the expertise or time to be the project manager upon their own remodel.

Within this conventional project delivery arrangement with a homeowner acting as a middleman, time delays, cost overruns, and additional problems associated with miscommunication are very common.

For the ones who would enjoy getting more feedback within the course of a project, a design-build company provides everything in a single package. A design-build approach to project delivery will ensure that homeowners just have to manage a single point of contact – the design-build company. Design, planning, and execution all are dealt with by one firm, who often will cooperate with reputable and pre-vetted building contractors while dealing with all communication needs and project management on behalf of the client.

Traditional Project Delivery vs. Design-Build

While there are several different methods of project delivery used to execute and plan construction projects, there are 3 main methods utilized in home improvement and residential building projects:

DB (Design-Build)

As aforementioned, DB projects are characterized by a single main entity (design-build company), which means there is a single contract to be concerned with and just one contact point for a homeowner to interface with. The DB company has the job of handling both the design/architectural elements of a project, and the construction/engineering work.

DBB (Design-Bid-Build)

It’s the most common method of project delivery and usually is broken down into 3 stages: design stage (homeowner employs an architect/designer to draft an initial project design); bid stage (homeowner will entertain bids from several contractors based upon the initial); as well as the build stage (in which the selected contractor starts project construction).

MP (Multi-Prime)

The primary difference between the DBB and MP delivery process is how a homeowner interfaces with a variety of contractors. In Design-Bid-Build, homeowners mostly handle one general or prime contractor, who then will coordinate with additional sub-contractors and trades. However, in MP projects, a homeowner has to contract with specialty contractors themselves for every trade necessary (that is, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, landscapers, painters, and so on.)

The DB approach will lead to fewer surprises, decreased opportunities of time delays or cost overruns, and better levels of transparency and communication between design-build firm and client. Here is a brief rundown on the all-inclusive approach to home remodeling.

Design Stage

Long before ground breaks upon a job site, the home design-build contractor already is diligently at work crafting your vision. You will sit down with the project manager to talk over your thoughts for the new construction and your budgetary constraints.

If you are prepared to build a new home or addition to an existing structure, these meetings also will involve a survey of the lot to check what will fit inside the property’s geographic features and boundaries.
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Once the project’s parameters are clearly laid out, the designer will collaborate with you to craft the perfect appearance for the new space. If the aesthetics that are desired present a budgetary or practical problem, the job of the designer is to present solutions like various materials to work around the problem.

With the overall concept of the new space conceptualized, step two includes creating a floor plan, preliminary sketches, as well as elevation drawings. When all parties make revisions and agree on the plans, it is time to bring the concept to life.

Pre-Construction

As the main day grows closer, you will have a couple of more decisions to make regarding floor coverings and paint colors; however, the contractor will be working to order all the materials necessary to execute your vision.

You certainly will hear from the project manager if supply issues threaten a timeline delay, yet feel free to contact them if there’s any questions during the interim stage. If you are remodeling a current space in your house, it’s possible to use this time to prepare your room for the construction by taking everything out from the eventual work space. In addition, it’s when you ought to meet with the bank to secure financing for your project.

The Building Stage

With all things in place, it is time to break ground on your project. The construction team will arrive upon the agreed date and immediately get to work. It’s possible to expect to receive updates from the manager as the project crosses individual milestones, plus, there might be several rounds of inspections all throughout this process. As the work is done and everything is up to par with regulatory agencies in the area, you will get to do a walk-through and point out spaces of concern.

After the Job

Although the construction equipment leaves, and the tarps come down, the contractor’s involvement within the project is not over. Once you have moved into the brand-new space, smaller problems not seen within the walk-through may sprout up, and it’s possible to arrange to get them addressed.

As the house goes through a shakedown span of all 4 seasons, issues with drywall and paint might appear as the structure settles. The builder is going to be at your disposal to fix all complications, and you also will have the protection of appliance and craftsmanship warranties to keep you covered for years after it’s completed.

Build the Better Way

You now know more about what the DB process entails, so you will be better ready to undertake the next construction endeavor or renovation. Take time to consider what the remodeling project goals and needs are before jumping into a conventional method of project delivery. You could save a ton of stress, money, and time by selecting a more streamlined method such as design-build.

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