To kick off our discussion about Design Build, we need to first define it.  In general, Design Build is the process where you hire one company or entity to provide both design and construction services.  It is more than that, though; it is an integrated process from beginning to end where we think about construction during the design phase and are still considering design as we are building.

The most familiar process to most homeowners – called Design-Bid-Build – is where the client first hires an architect who draws the project.  Then, once the drawings are complete, they are sent out to various contractors for bids.  The contractor then builds the project with the architect providing support for the client during the construction phase.  This model has some strengths but is a linear process that can be inflexible and provides difficulty when trying to compress the project schedule.  Additionally, it relies on two separate companies with separate motivations to work towards a common goal – this is where the trouble often starts.

The strengths of the Design Build model is exactly where Design-Bid-Build falls short – by aligning the motivations of the project team.  It is becoming more and more common in non-residential projects, because those industries realize it leads to better projects due to the collaborative nature of the project team and the flexibility it lends to the project.  It currently accounts for 40% of all non-residential projects, up from 30% in 2005.  It can also lead to faster (34% according to Construction Industry Institute) and cheaper (6% according to CII) projects.

The industry we serve, residential construction and remodels as well as commercial tenant improvements, has specific needs and pressures that the Design Build model works very well for.  We will discuss these in-depth in upcoming blog entries.

We began offering Design Build services for several reasons. For one, it allows us to draw on Jason’s history and experience as a contractor, something many architects do not share. It also allows us to more fully serve our clients by providing them care and consideration of the design quality regardless of project size.

Design Build isn’t perfect – we will also address some weaknesses in future entries – but our clients are finding it very compelling because it alleviates their concerns and gives them a single point of responsibility for the entire job.