If you have never made major modifications to your home before, the process can be confusing. One of the biggest issues you will face before beginning is choosing between two construction delivery methods: Design-Build or Traditional (also called “Design-Bid-Build”). Homeowners need to decide which method works best for their needs.
Image Source: https://dbia.org/what-is-design-build
Traditional follows the process of firstly selecting a designer, secondly designing the project, then requesting pricing from contractors, and finally selecting a contractor to build the project.
Design-build is the method of hiring one company to be responsible for budgeting, designing, pricing and construction.
When making this decision, you’ll be weighing many variables, but these four points are imperative to the selection process.
Traditional. There is higher potential that this method will take longer to complete the project as the design and specifications need to be complete prior to the bidding phase.
Design-Build. Because both the designers and contractors are working together at the start of the project, the timeline can be condensed since many activities can occur simultaneously, such as designing and pricing.
Traditional. With this method, you could bear more risk. The companies you choose may have never worked together before, which may allow for things to fall through the cracks. You will be more involved with the project along with keeping track of multiple contracts.
Design-Build. Having both designer and contractor with the same company greatly lowers any risk for cost or schedule challenges since they will be responsible for the full process, from initial design to post-construction services. One company is totally accountable and will provide peace-of-mind as the team will be able to handle any issue that may arise quickly and efficiently.
Traditional. The homeowners are more involved in the project as they act as the liaison and mediator between the designer and contractor. The possibility for miscommunication is higher as there are more points of contact.
Design-Build. Design-build firms are able to have open and frequent conversations internally as they are all on the same team. Any conflicts that may arise are solved early and quickly.
Traditional. You may not know the overall cost of the project initially. There is a greater chance for higher design fees, then receiving bids larger than you anticipated and having to cancel or postpone the project. On the flip side, you have the ability to bid out the project to multiple contractors. If you have good plans and specifications, you should receive complete, comparable bids from which you can choose.
Design-Build. With designers and contractors on the same page, it is easier to work within a given budget. The team will be targeting your budget throughout the project with more control regarding the cost and design meeting your expectations.
Once you determine which construction delivery method is appropriate, you’ll need to begin evaluating design-build companies or architects and contractors. Regardless of which method you select, the bottom line is you need to work with people you can trust. Do not use lowest price as your deciding factor! The lowest price contains sacrifices with regards to service, quality, and/or scheduling. Unfortunately, you won’t know what was forfeit until it’s too late. Do your research, read reviews of any company you’re considering, ask your friends for referrals, and pick the contractor you feel in your gut is the best fit for you.