The Blog

What Is Design-Build Construction?

Meet Jane. Jane has an older home and a neighborhood she adores. The house is dated and not very functional. She wants to live in a glorious modern home but she really doesn’t want to move away from the life she has built in this special place over the years. 

Her kids are finally out of college and Jane and her husband, Joe, decide it’s time to take the plunge and transform the house into a showplace they can truly enjoy.

Jane does her research and hires a designer to plan the remodel for her whole-home renovation. She doesn’t ask about a design-build construction approach and is thrilled that she’ll finally get to create the dream home she’s always wanted. The designer creates gorgeous plans for Jane’s home and sends her on her merry way.

Then Jane takes the design, along with all hopes and great expectations, to an unaffiliated builder for construction. She hands the plans to the general contractor, expecting smooth sailing ahead. 

The traditional design-bid-build method

With traditional construction build methods, the project delivery is two-pronged. Jane has two contact points. Two different contracts. Two individuals/groups making decisions without any cohesiveness or incentive to collaborate together. 

She is surprised to discover during the construction process, the builder seems to hit quite a few snags. He says that the design won’t work the way the designer said it would. Jane is confused because she assumed the build would be straightforward and the designs wouldn’t be a problem. They were created by a professional, after all.

The designer and builder go back and forth for months, each saying that the other one is the cause of the problem. No one seems to take responsibility for her project.

Jane and Joe begin to feel quite frustrated with all the delays, mounting expenses, and endless squabbling between the designer and builder. They just want the project done well in a reasonable amount of time and at a fair price. Is that too much to ask?

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What is a design-build project?

For design-build projects, our intrepid home owner, Jane, simply goes to one entity for the entire architectural design and construction of the build. There is one contact point. One contract. 

The person who designs the buildings works with the one who builds the project collaboratively. 

If any changes are needed, the entire team works on them together. There is unity in their recommendations for Jane on the project. It is a team approach and the buck stops with that team. This streamlines the entire building process, preventing unnecessary delays and keeping Jane out of a power struggle and running stream of excuses.

Design-build is the most rapidly-growing approach to building projects in America and for good reason. The design-build project delivery is generally a much smoother process with many tangible advantages in most cases.


What is the design-build process?

If you choose a design-build construction method, what can you expect the process to look like?

Here’s a general timeline of events. Of course, each group has its own particular master plan. 

Keep in mind that there is no bid period at the beginning, which does shorten the time to product delivery a bit.

  1. First meeting
  2. Design meeting
  3. Design presentation 
  4. Construction cost-estimates for any revisions
  5. Construction drawings
  6. Final project estimate
  7. Financing
  8. Contract and construction loan finalized
  9. Permit applications
  10. Pre-construction meeting
  11. Construction
  12. Final walkthrough and approval of the job by the client

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Where do we come in with your design and building project?

At Phase One, we can help with any of the three design/building scenarios you may encounter.

1. Design-Bid-Build

Phase One plays the trusted middleman between your contractor and designer to ensure a smooth process for you and your construction project. We oversee the project’s management, keeping you in the know, but out of the fray — and ensuring your build goes the way you want it to through the design and construction phases.

2. Design (with Contractor Oversight)-Bid-Build 

This is a niche specialty for us. Phase One drafts and designs with our in house designers and expert contractors to make sure everything is thought through, including the building aspects of your design. This way,  your general contractor has no issues later with the design plans.

3. Design-Build

Occasionally, we have projects come through the door where we will complete the full design-build construction work. This is dependent on our clients goals, needs, and our relationship. But we do act as a design-build firm, at times.

Looking for design-build construction to get your dream home plans off the ground? 

Contact us today to get started!

January 15, 2021