Design + Build
Choose the best delivery method for your home remodeling project
As a homeowner, you’ll have many choices to make regarding your project and your construction partner. Before you begin, it’s important to understand the difference between the two most common construction options: Design Bid vs. Design-Bid-Build.
Our hope is that by helping you better understand how these contracts work, you will have the information you need to decide on the type of remodeling contractor that is just right for you—one whose approach suits both your comfort level and your pocket book. We invite you to sift through the details in this FREE Homeowner’s Guide and Toolkit to help you make a thoughtful and informed decision.
Design-Bid-Build is a traditional process where the homeowner contracts separately with an architect or designer, and then with a remodeling contractor. Most of the remodeling project details are defined in the design phase first. With this approach, the owner makes decisions about almost every detail of the design and building process before soliciting bids. The owner will then solicit and compare fixed-price bids from multiple contractors. The owner usually selects one contractor who enters into an agreement to construct according to the project scope. Once the contract is signed, little input is expected from the owner and change orders are used to account for changes in the project scope.
Design-Build is an agreement between the owner and a Design Build firm to perform both design and construction under a single source of accountability. It allows the architect/designer, contractor and homeowner to develop a cohesive project plan from the very beginning. Ideas are shared freely and evaluated in relation to the owner’s budget and timeline.
Rather than the budget being derived from the project’s design, the design is derived as a result of the owner’s budget. The process begins with an initial discovery meeting, where the owner’s needs and existing conditions are documented. A financial commitment, in the form of a Design Agreement, moves the process into a design phase where conceptual floor plan drawings are made, realistic material allowances are determined and a complete cost estimate is provided. It is also at this time that the homeowner has the freedom to explore multiple design options and their associated costs, without having to build architectural plans. Time is taken to go over various options in finishes, cabinetry, appliances, etc. that is worked and reworked until it all fits the homeowner’s budget. Once a final design is chosen, the homeowner enters a construction agreement and detailed construction drawings are developed. Then, a construction schedule is set and the project is managed from start to finish by the design build firm.
We encourage you to use the checklist in our Homeowner’s Guide and Toolkit to choose a process that is right for you.
Your next remodeling project doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. And you don’t have to do it alone. Our hope is that you come to the conclusion that working with a design build firm provides exactly the kind of remodeling experience you are looking for—Working with one team with one goal, to design and build a home you’ll love.
“I couldn’t believe the suggestions they came up with that have made my life so much easier. I am right-handed, so the dishwasher was placed on the right side. I now have a laundry sorter, plus there is a folding station so that everything can be sorted and folded before taking it upstairs. Other perks included concealed outlets in the kitchen, a vacuum closet with shelves for our batteries and light bulbs; and lockers in the mudroom with french doors to conceal our jackets, backpacks and shoes.”—A. Murray, Beverly Hills, MI