If you’ve been through our website, you’ll know we are full-on advocates for using the design-build process for custom homes instead of working with an architect and builder/contractor separately. But you may be left wondering why, so this is our chance to explain.
Design-build connects your designer, who may be an architect or draftsman, and the people who will actually build your home at the beginning of the process to talk about the end result. When you begin with the end in mind, which is to design and build a home to meet your specific needs and, most importantly, meet your budget, the end result becomes that much better.
Cost vs. Design
Time after time, clients ask us to bid on projects that architects designed independently of cost constraints. When we match our building costs to the design, that’s when you, our client, discover that the project is going to cost above and beyond your intended budget. This puts everyone in a difficult situation. You realize you invested thousands of dollars in a beautiful home design that you don’t have enough money to build.
Now you are left with two difficult options. You can leave the majority of the design intact – same size, number of bedrooms, etc. – but cut out the nice finishes and unique touches that will make your home wonderful in order to try and save money. This will leave you with a big, empty, cold, boring house. Or you can spend months going back to the drawing board with your designer, which will ultimately cost you even more money in an effort to try and save money. This is why we feel design-build with a clearly defined budget on the front end is by far the best way to go.
Adding the Contractor to the Team
Not only does having your contractor on your team throughout the design process help you end up with a house that meets your budget, it also allows him or her to pick up on reasons for certain decisions you make and the important aspects that need to stay in the design. Knowing we need to create a ceiling height to match specific artwork or floor plans to match your furniture allows us to design and build in your best interests.
We can also help to foresee problematic building details and construction assemblies before they are built. For example, if your designer suggests a section of flat roof for your home, we will point out that rubber membrane flat roofing is a highly problematic roofing material. It’s going to leak; it’s just a matter of when. That gives you the opportunity to ask for a change in the design or be prepared in advance that you will need to fix a leaky roof. If the design calls for American cherry floors, we can point out that Brazilian cherry floors look just as wonderful but are far more durable. This gives you knowledge that may be able to save you repair time and money.
Benefits of Real-World Experience
Additionally, we may be able to help you realize large efficiencies in costs. For example, during the design process, your designer may call out a roof overhang at 25 inches. With our real-world experience with building materials, we know that soffit material comes in precut 24-inch, mass-produced sizes. By recommending the 25-inch overhang becomes 24 inches, you won’t have to pay for special-ordered soffit. It also won’t require us to cut down large sheets of plywood resulting in large amounts of waste for that extra inch.
To get started with the design-build process, talk to us. We can recommend great designers to work with, or we can work with one you already have in mind.