You have probably heard of design-build and design-bid-build. But do you know the difference between the two? This post will show you what each one is and why you might choose one over the other for your next building project.

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What is Design-Build?

The Design-Build method simply allows the homeowner to hire a single entity (the Designer/Builder) to deliver the entire project under one contract. This single entity takes on the responsibility and risks for the entire project. Everything from estimates, to architectural drawings, engineering, construction, and finish work. They can be an all-in-one contractor or subcontract each aspect of the project coordinating it all.

What is Design-Bid-Build?

The Design-Bid-Build method is the traditional way of doing construction projects and has the homeowner do all the work of finding and hiring the designer, builder, architect, and so on. More work means more headaches. The Design-Build method simplifies the whole process.

Benefits of the Design-Build Process

The design-build process is one of the more popular methods of house building in recent years, and it has its advantages when compared to other standard building techniques. If you’re interested in constructing your own home, take a look at these five advantages of design-build before you hire anyone to help build your house.

  1. The project starts and ends on time. Due to a fixed price and clear timeline, every stage in your project is finished when it should be. The customer gets exactly what they asked for: With one source responsible for both design and construction, you’ll know that you’re getting exactly what you want, down to materials and finishes. It also means there are no surprises when construction begins. You save time, money, and hassle: By avoiding multiple contractors and overlapping processes, construction is more efficient. You get exactly what you ask for—no more, no less: No changes once construction has begun will mean less work (and cost) at completion. 
  2. You know exactly what you’re getting. When you hire a general contractor to take care of every aspect of your construction project, you’re guaranteed to get precisely what you want. When you hand off different aspects (construction and design) to various entities, there’s room for misinterpretation and miscommunication, leading to costly changes down the road. The design-build process shortens that cycle: everything has already been approved when it comes time for construction. And at that point, nothing more should be changing.
  3. Everyone is motivated to get it done right. The most significant difference between design-build and traditional bidding is that contractors and architects are working together to create a solution while keeping in mind future occupants. It means everyone is motivated to get it done right—not just their department.
  4. There’s no gap between schematic drawings and final construction documents. One big advantage of design-build is that it can save a lot of time by not requiring separate design and construction phases. This allows architectural firms to reduce their staff, with one team handling both design and construction—and design professionals can concentrate on aesthetics and function from concept to reality. If you’re looking for an affordable way to build your dream home or commercial space in an efficient manner, consider design-build; your designs will be realized more quickly than ever before.
  5. There are no surprises when you move in. One big advantage to using design-build is that you are involved in each phase of building your home. You may have seen homes where surprise bills pop up, and that’s not how it goes with design-build. The home will be completed before it is turned over to you, so everything from cabinets and paint colors to landscaping plans will be a done deal before you move in. That way, there won’t be any surprises for you when it comes time to move in! There’s only one check at closing: We mentioned above that there are no surprises, but even still—there is only one cost estimate and closing check given to you after all contracts are signed. What does that mean? It means that you don’t have to pay multiple bills after moving into your new home, as things like appliances may be included in the price – including installation costs! Costs stay contained throughout construction: One huge concern of many homeowners is how much their project will cost them. It can feel daunting spending thousands or tens of thousands on a project like remodeling; however, by hiring contractors through design-build who know what they’re doing, you can rest assured knowing that costs are contained right until completion.
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Risks of the Design-Bid-Build Process

In a design-bid-build process, you’ll identify your project scope, specifications, and budget requirements. Next, you’ll seek bids from several designers, then choose one. Next, you’ll seek bids from several contractors to do the construction, then choose one. And the same process applies to the other phases of the project. This process does work but has you doing more work than you need to, leaving you tired and exhausted trying to manage everything.

All projects are different and have their own risks associated with them; however, here are some examples of having multiple companies involved in your project. How will I keep things coordinated between bidders? You may need to be on-site regularly during construction. When selecting your Contractor, it is imperative that you can be on-site regularly during construction as well as manage your Project Manager or Foreman, who will be responsible for reporting issues back to you at a time when they can be addressed.

A contractor who is not willing or able to spend time on-site may end up with errors and omissions due to lack of communication or coordination between themselves and sub trades causing delays additional costs. More importantly, danger due to non-compliance leading potentially totaling losses of money, materials & labor if not correctly handled. It can become quite costly and sometimes times insurmountable when insurance claims come into play.


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