Ask the Expert

Ask the Expert: MAK DESIGN + BUILD

By From page C14 | March 28, 2014

What is Design+Build Remodeling?
Juliana Tadano

The design+build model is an integrated approach to building that combines all of the stages of a project under one roof. The design team and the construction team work together from start to finish and are in communication with the client about their expectations, budget, and goals throughout project development. This collaborative and solution-oriented approach is especially beneficial when dealing with the inherent complexity of a remodeling project. A common alternative is to work with an architect or designer first, and then ask several contractors for bids on a project. There are several drawbacks with this model and more and more lately homeowners and businesses alike are turning to the design+build model for its streamlined, no-surprises approach to projects ranging in complexity from small bathroom updates to multi-billion dollar municipal projects. Asking different contractors to bid on the same architectural documents results in comparing “apples to oranges” estimates.

Even when both the architect and each contractor bidding are providing very detailed specifications about what is and isn’t included, the client has no way to navigate the assumptions that go into creating each estimate. A client will get entirely different prices, levels of detail, and unspoken assumptions from each bidder, which may or may not be accurate. The client is left comparing documents that don’t match, aren’t transparent, and may not be realistic. It’s no wonder so many contractors have to add on costs at the end of a project for something they didn’t anticipate! By the time a project is ready to go out to bid, the architect and client have worked together for many months, even years. The project is then handed off to a builder who the client has just met.

There is little chance for the contractor in this situation to build a productive working relationship and establish effective communication with the homeowner. If something goes wrong, the contractor can blame the architect, and the architect can blame the contractor. The homeowner is left to sort out the details and live with a solution they have little say in developing. In the design+build process, the budget is driving the development of the design from day one and an affordable project is always the end goal.

There is no reward or profit for the design+build firm to create a project their client cannot afford to build. There is only one relationship and one conversation: the homeowner and the design+build company. Prices and assumptions are developed together, as the project is designed, so there are no gray areas. Before signing the construction contract, the client knows exactly what they will be getting, because they were present for every decision that was made. Some firms advertising as design+build are actually a partnership of an independent contractor and an architect or designer. They function more as a preferred partner than a unified team.

While both halves of the partnership may be very well qualified, they work in separate offices or even cities, and parse out phases of the project to one another. There is still a distance between designing and building the project that can result in confusion, delays, and increased costs. At MAK Design+Build, all of our staff works together every day. There is only one team for our clients to work with, from start to finish. Our construction crew and design team continually give each other feedback and ideas to improve our projects.

We also maintain close working relationships with our subcontractors, and bring them in early and often to discuss project costs and decisions. Our designs are grounded in the real world construction costs we encounter every day. MAK Design+Build is a full service residential remodeling company serving the city of Davis and surrounding areas. Whether simply replacing your front door or renovating your entire house, we work with you from concept through completion to find creative solutions for your individual remodeling needs. At MAK Design+Build we see every remodeling project as an opportunity to build a lasting relationship.

5 Benefits of Design+Build Anthony Anderson MAK DESIGN + BUILD

1. Accountability In the design+build model, the homeowner has a single point of contact and a single point of accountability for quality, cost, and schedule. The clarity of the client’s expectations cannot get lost between competing interests or compromised due to miscommunication.

2. Cost savings A design+build project begins with the budget as its endpoint and works backwards to create a scope that best meets the client’s goals for their home. Design and construction professionals work together throughout the design process to evaluate and incorporate alternative methods and cost-saving solutions so that the scope and budget do not become mutually exclusive.

3. Cost control Because the designers and the builders are working together, costly delays due to opposing interpretations and finger pointing don’t occur and change orders due to errors, omissions, or miscommunications are eliminated.

4. Time savings Design+build projects have a shorter overall timeline because procurement of materials and permitting can be overlapped with the design process. Additionally the absence of the bidding and redesign phases allows projects to go from design into construction quickly.

5. Timely information Every remodeling project is different and an infinite number of variations mean that no two jobs cost the same. Therefore, being able to make decisions with accurate cost analysis during the design process prevents spending time and money designing features that will not be executed. When the company designing your project is also responsible for estimating it, clients can make informed decisions along the way to ensure their project stays on budget.


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