Q: “I keep seeing the phrase “Design-Build”. What are the advantages of this kind of service?”
A: The design-build philosophy is so influential that virtually all commercial and public works projects are now done this way. This business model is now making its way into residential projects, especially by contractors skilled at information management.
Advantages of Design-Build
The advantages are all about saving time and money:
There can’t be any finger-pointing by the building or design professionals at each other over project delays or cost over-runs. Since both aspects of the project (design and build) are under one roof, the buck stops there. This translates to savings for the client over more traditional models. You won’t be spending money designing a project that won’t be built because it doesn’t make financial sense.
Costing a project during the design phase is something only a builder can do. The project design can and should be driven by the available funds, not the other way around, as must be the case when the “pricing phase” comes after the “design phase”. In Design-Build, these two “phases” of the pre-construction process move in lock-step with each other all the way from concept to permits.
The design process can cost less money and take less time. It seems universal that most people would love to have more project than they have funds to devote to it. This being true, it stands to reason that getting pricing after the design is done means re-design, obviously costing more and taking longer.
The design is being done with a team member who has a gut instinct for what design details and configurations cost, and how best to build them. This instinct is honed by the “school of hard knocks” over (hopefully) decades doing nothing but building. This invaluable expertise informs the design process, making certain your project costs are kept at a minimum while still providing good design in an integrated process under one roof.
By running both processes concurrently with the same firm, you ensure that what you’re designing is what you’ll build, and the construction process goes smooth with a minimum of change orders.