Before starting a home remodeling project, it’s important to understand the different types of project delivery methods that are used by contractors and remodeling firms to execute construction projects. The three primary methods used in residential building and home improvement projects are:
- Design-Build (DB)
- Design-Bid-Build (DBB)
- Multi-Prime (MP)
Design-build has become increasingly popular over the last fifteen years as an innovative method of project planning and delivery. Instead of working with multiple teams that may or may not directly interact, a design-build team works together under one cohesive contract that combines both the design of the project all the way through the building process and to completion. Instead of receiving multiple bids for the building process after the design phase, design-build eliminates the need for multiple contracts and separate contractors working to envision a singular project.
Each project delivery method has pros and cons, but we specialize in and prefer the design-build process for a variety of reasons:
- It provides a single point of contact for the customer, eliminating the “middle man” role for homeowners.
- Estimates are more accurate, costs are better controlled, and there are fewer under-budgeting issues.
- Each phase of a project is completed in a timely manner.
- There’s accountability and consistency throughout the project.
To further illustrate what makes design-build such a great process for executing San Diego home remodeling projects, we’ve put together a visual guide to the design-build process below.
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A Visual Guide to the Design-Build Process
Steps in the Design-Build Process
Every design-build project begins with an in-depth design discussion, where your design-build contractor will work with you to develop your ideas into blueprints, architectural designs, and other visual mock-ups. During the preliminary design phase, your design-build contractor will discuss your wants and needs, take necessary measurements, confirm property lines and setbacks, verify utilities, and check out overall site conditions.
This process typically takes a few weeks, and requires a few meetings to develop final design drawings. With a final design ready to go, an accurate quote can be provided and pre-construction can begin.
Before breaking ground on your approved design, your design-build contractor will work with you to finalize details such as colors, materials, finishes, fixtures, and more. Timelines will be laid out, trades coordinated, and financing will be secured.
Now the fun begins! As work on your project progresses, you can expect regular communication and updates from your dedicated design-build project manager. Because design and construction are handled by a single entity in the design-build process, your can expect rapid, aggressive project progress, with consistent communicate along the way.
Once your project is finished, your design-build contractor will conduct a thorough walkthrough with you, pointing out important details, taking your feedback, and making sure that nothing has been left out. Reputable design-build firms will have protections and warranties in place to keep homeowners covered for several years following completion.
The Benefits of Design-Build
- A design-build firm offers a single point of contact for the homeowner with everything in one package.
- The design-build firm is responsible for both the architectural/design aspects of the project, as well as the engineering/construction work.
- Some of the biggest benefits of design-build include rapid delivery, a smooth process, better solutions and better communication.
- Cost overruns, time delays, and miscommunication issues are extremely common in traditional project delivery arrangements with homeowners acting as middlemen. Design-build projects avoid many of these issues.
- In traditional project delivery, designer and contractor can easily blame one another for cost overruns and other problems. Not so in design-build projects.
- By choosing a design-build approach, you could save a lot of time, money, and stress on your next project.
Why Choose Design-Build?
The design-build process helps keep a project streamlined and within budget by employing a single contract between the owner and their team. This saves money in a multitude of ways and helps ensure that the team designing your project and the team building your project have the same goals. Nothing is lost in communication, and costs are well-defined ahead of time. This saves both money and time over the broad scope of the project.
Design-build essentially keeps the entire project under one roof. With all teams as a cohesive group, the motivation, vision, investment, and quality remains the same. There is no extra effort needed to coordinate between unfamiliar teams. Let’s look at these advantages more closely.
The entire team has an understanding of the total budget from start to finish, meaning they are better able to accurately budget along the way, keeping you from accidentally under-budgeting in key areas. Both design and construction teams intercommunicate, meaning that the construction arm can keep the design arm in line, and they can collaborate to engineer the greatest value into the original design. Construction costs can be quickly and accurately estimated into the overall project plan, meaning that decision points are made well before they can cause an upheaval in the project plan or pose unexpected challenges.
Having one consistent team means that the quality is known well before the first nail is hammered. This means that expectations are set early and documented along the way, leaving no room for interpretation later on in the game. There is total accountability throughout the project, including the end-result. Designers are accountable to the builders and vice versa, meaning there is greater attention paid to ensuring both teams are taken into consideration. The builders must make sure that they adequately achieve the designer’s vision, and designers must make sure that they design in such a way that the builders can reasonable and accurately achieve the expected end-result. There is no conflict of interest, meaning that what you see from the designer is what you get from the builder.
Because the teams overlap, construction can begin much more quickly. And because there is no need for bidding wars and evaluations, the time between phases is eliminated. Team collaboration means that deadlines are a shared responsibility, and efforts toward that goal are combined. Communication between teams is freer, removing the need for callbacks and clarification. And as a client, you can sit with both the design team and the build team at the same time, allowing you to make quicker and more informed decisions. This also eliminates time needed to redesign or renegotiate parts of the project.
With one cohesive team of designers and builders, you are working with individuals who understand the full scope of your project and are fully responsible for the end-result, not just their part. This reduces misunderstandings, over-budgeting, time necessary for bidding and researching additional teams, and removes the lag time between designing your project and beginning construction.
Advantages of Working with a Design-Build Project Manager
In the world of home design and construction, project managers are crucial in creating a thorough and fluid plan. A home remodeling project carried out by a design-build team will feature a dedicated and experienced project manager to guide the project from start to finish. Project managers are responsible for coordinating the trades, managing subcontractors, making sure the project is on schedule and on budget, and keeping the client completely in the know each step of the way. Their support is equally as valuable as the skills that are being provided physically for the project, and they make the entirety of the remodel easy-going for everyone involved.
At Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel, our team features some of the best design-build project managers in the industry. We believe that their skills deserve to be highlighted, so that you, the homeowner, will know exactly how they can help your next remodeling project run as smoothly as possible. Take a look at our list below for five incredible advantages that a design-build project manager brings to the table.
1. They are Your Single Point of Contact
If you work with a traditional contracting company for a home remodeling job, chances are you will be talking to multiple people about the project itself. Though this might seem okay in the moment, this will get old– fast. In the design-build method of project delivery, a dedicated project manager acts as the noble mediator on your home’s project. They will be the ones that eliminate outside noise and eliminate confusion, and they are there to understand your wants and needs. This is a highly valuable benefit to both the outcome of your project, as well as your stress level during the process.
2. They Lead the Remodeling Project
In addition to being your main point of contact, a project manager does exactly what his or her title says: they manage the project from start to finish. They handle all of the planning, the direction of the project, they oversee the project, and they make sure that it is flowing in congruent with the set timeline. Project managers are the accountability partners of a design-build team, and they make sure that what was agreed upon at the start is consistently maintained; all the way down to the budget. Whether you see this as a bonus to hiring a design-build team or not for your next home remodel, just remember that their previous successes have greatly helped build our reputable and satisfying name.
3. They Manage the Trades and Subcontractors
Not only are project managers important to you and to the business at large, they’re important to the tradespeople that are working on the job. The project manager meets the needs of the tradespeople, handles their complications, and brings on the right about of tradespeople for the job so that it fits right into your budget. Their management skills are put on a pedestal at Murrary Lampert, because juggling multiple aspects of a job can be challenging, tiring, and exhausting– but they do it because they love it and their skills are prodigious.
4. They’re A Source Of Guidance & Inspiration
Project managers have seen it all. From the best case scenario to the worst case scenario, project managers have a great understanding of what works and what doesn’t. They’re able to work quickly and effectively for the project’s timeline. They know trends, they have elite sources for design styles, and they’re available to help flush out all of your ideas. Sometimes all you need as a homeowner is someone to bounce ideas off of; to hear opinions and to develop concepts. A project manager is a multi-talented human being that serves in nearly all avenues of the home remodeling process. Ask them a question regarding design or functionality, and nine times out of ten they will have a detailed response – or be able to point you to another professional in the company.
5. They’re Focused On Getting the Job Done
The beauty of a project manager is that they are laser-focused on one thing: executing your remodeling project. They’re detail oriented professionals that, when completely in the zone, are capable of overseeing every detail in the design-build process. Their job is designed in a way that’s not intrusive of other areas of the business, and that keeps them fully focused on their 20%. When working with a general contracting business on a home remodel, the likelihood of dealing with a contractor that’s disorganized and can’t answer your questions (or just forgets them) is really high, because let’s face it: they’re pulled in so many different directions to keep their business running. Project managers keep it simple for you and for us.