The process of designing and building


There are four main methods to managing the design and construction process when remodeling your home. Before deciding how you’d like to handle your project, figure out what your priorities are. Do you want a unique design or something basic? Are there structural changes you’ll need to make? Do you want to have all choices made before starting the project or can you make decisions on the fly? How important is keeping costs as low as possible? Is completing the project quickly important? Do you have enough experience to thoroughly understand your project without a professional? These priorities should be used to determine what services you look for and which (if any) you provide yourself.

1) You can hire an architect to fully design your new structure, an interior designer to specify all of the finish materials and furnishings, then hire a builder to execute those plans. When your project doesn’t require structural changes, an interior designer can often handle the design work needed. Either way, this method usually results in higher overall project costs because your design is based around your preferences and not necessarily on realistic construction costs. It also usually results in longer project timelines. If modifications to the design are needed or wanted after construction begins, the designer has to jump back in and may not be readily available. 

2) You can hire a builder and handle design yourself. There are many software programs on the market geared toward DIY designers that can be helpful when doing this. This may be adequate for very basic projects. You’ll need to understand that there may be details you haven’t considered or aren’t aware of that can impact the project. This can mean cost over-runs due to re-work, schedule delays, and the end result could be less than you’d hoped for. I don’t recommend this option for any project that’s structural, related to a kitchen or bathroom, or that covers more than a couple hundred square feet of space. Experienced, competent  design services are invaluable to the success of your project.

3) You can hire an architect or interior designer to design your project and then build the project yourself. Most of the time this is the least desirable option. While the design may be stellar, if you’re not highly skilled and knowledgable about the process of construction, current building standards, current and past building methods and all related codes that will affect your project, it’s highly unlikely that your project will be completed well. You’ll have cost overruns due to inexperience and lack of knowledge. Your project will take much longer than expected. You’ll have more ongoing repairs after the project is completed because things will not be done as well, and you may not even finish the project if you run out of time. Houses are complicated and extensive knowledge and experience is required to remodel them.

4) Or, you can hire a design-build company. The design-build concept came about several decades ago as a way to expedite the design, pricing and implementation of construction projects. By having all of those tasks handled by the same company, the project is more likely to be completed on time and on budget. Changes can be made more efficiently during construction if needed. You don’t have to hire multiple entities that can have competing priorities and the design will be based on current construction costs that the builder works with on a daily basis. The design-builder can also include interior design services if needed or desired. The design-build model is generally agreed to be the most efficient and practical choice for making high-quality improvements to your home on a budget, whether that budget is large or small. 

We offer design-build services. We’ve found that this format delivers the best results for most people. We’ll discuss our process of design-build in another post. Sometimes projects DO benefit from the services of an architect and interior designer, and in those cases we’re always happy to either work with your designers if you’ve already begun the process, or to recommend our own preferred architects and designers if needed. 

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