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Design-Build: The Benefits of Hiring a Design-Build Company

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

So, you’re ready to start your home improvement project. You start researching the best contractors and architects in the area, making some calls, getting quotes, and quickly realizing that this process is getting complicated and expensive.

Enter the design-build concept.

Hiring a design-build firm is basically like hitting the easy button on your project! Every aspect of the designing and building is under one roof ⎯ no juggling “who is doing what, and when” for you. In this article, we lay out all the information you need to decide whether or not you should hire a design-build team.

First, let’s define what a traditionally structured project versus a design-build project means.

In a traditionally structured project, the owner must manage contracts with both an architect and a contractor separately and act as the middleman for the two. There is often little to no communication between the two, resulting in costly mistakes ⎯ both financially and timely. With a design-build project, the owner manages just one contract with one company where the design team (architect) and construction team (contractor) work together from the beginning. Any changes made are communicated and addressed by the entire team. A design-build entity will include specialty trades and trusted subcontractors that will produce drawings, accurate estimates, execute permitting, purchasing, and construction.

A graphic showing the home owner's chain of communication for a traditionally structured project versus a design-build project
Design-Build Structure vs Traditional Project

So, what does the design-build process look like?

At Copia, we keep our process simple. We aim to make your home improvement project as easy and smooth as possible from start to finish. We have a tried and proven method implemented with every job to do just that.

After the initial contact, we will schedule a time to visit your property to take measurements, review options, and discuss the budget. Once we have the information we need, we will create and present a detailed proposal and quote.

Our quotes are broken down to see where every dollar is going and include an overview of the expected payment schedule.

Both a signed proposal and a retainer payment are required before we begin the design process. The retainer will then be applied to your balance. Once we have a signed contract, any changes we make along the way will need your approval signature before proceeding, so there are no surprises for you in the end.

When you approve the preliminary design, we will then submit plans to the town for approval. At this stage, we will produce a final estimate based on the design plans. Once you sign off on the final estimate, and building permits are approved, your project will officially begin. You will also be given access to your Buildertrend portal, your project command center. In this portal, you will have access to every detail of your project, from renderings to where the budget stands. This portal is also where you will make all your selections for the finish work.

Selections are the fun step where your project will start to come alive! Making finish and product selections is a critical step in bringing your design to life. We are here to help! Our design consultant will compile a list of options for you, based on your style and taste, to choose from in each category of your project and help you decide what will work best for your vision. These selections include everything from appliances and fixtures to paint color and millwork.

What to expect in the build phase

Before work begins, we will lay out a realistic timeline and set a schedule, which you can access in your Buildertrend portal. As the project progresses, both the schedule and timeline will be adjusted based on availability of both materials and the tradesmen needed to complete the project.

The building phase can either be really disruptive or mildly inconvenient, depending on the scale of your project. If your project involves remodeling your kitchen and every bathroom in your house, you will not be able to stay in your home through construction. If the project is large, we recommend our clients either find a rental for the project’s duration or move in with relatives temporarily. This way, we can work faster and more efficiently while your routine and comfort are disrupted as little as possible. Once we start the build phase, your home is transformed into a construction site until completion, and your safety is a top priority.

How will a design-build firm help you stick to a budget?

Working together from the beginning means estimates are more accurate and realistic. Generally, an architect will deliver plans for your dream home, but are they experienced in construction? How realistic are their estimates for materials needed? We are well versed in both construction and design, so our estimates are naturally more accurate.

How can a design-build firm help keep the project moving forward and quickly?

We provide comprehensive and detailed plans, and since we are actively involved in decisions being made, there is little opportunity for surprises. While backorders or supply chain disruptions do happen, we can avoid significant delays with the proper planning from the beginning.

We are here to help you with every step of the selection process to keep the project on schedule and provide you with creative solutions when issues do arise.

All the major components of your project are kept in-house, so there is no playing phone tag with multiple contractors to get the answers you need. At Copia, we have sub-contractors in various specialty trades that we work with repeatedly, so we know we can depend on them.

We will never make assumptions or decisions on your behalf but instead will provide you will realistic options if or when an issue arises that will affect the project design or cost.

A one-stop-shop.

Overall, a design-build firm will simplify the process for you. We manage your project for you from start to finish, reducing stress. As designers who are also builders, we pay close attention to the plan’s design, pricing, and schedule so changes can be made easier and faster.

In the end, if you do decide to go to an architect and find a builder separately, we suggest hiring them both at the same time. Make sure you are hiring companies that are ready and willing to work closely together to accomplish your vision, not theirs. This way, they can be working together in tandem to achieve the best plan for your budget.


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