What is Design-Build: FAQ and considerations for your remodel

What is Design-Build: FAQ and considerations for your remodel

If you’ve heard of design-build, but aren’t exactly sure what it is, you’re not alone. Navigating industry terms like design-build or design-bid-build can be confusing, especially if you’re new to the home-building industry. But if you want to make the best decisions for your home construction project, it's a good idea to educate yourself on what your options are — and design-build is one of your options. 

In short, design-build is a simplified project delivery method in which a singular company fulfills both your design and construction needs. But there’s more to design-build than meets the eye, and before you sign any contracts, it’s smart to understand the benefits and drawbacks of using a design-build firm vs. a general contractor. Let’s take a look at some design-build frequently asked questions!

1. What is a Design-Build Contractor? 

A design-build contractor does it all — from architectural drawings to interior design to construction; they handle the entire remodeling process for you. Think of them as the one-stop-shop of the home-building world. These firms provide design and construction services, bringing together a team of experts to work on your home. Ultimately, that typically translates to better communication and a streamlined process as compared to traditional methods. But more on that below!

2. How is Design-Build Different from Other Processes? 

Typically, most construction projects follow a process known as design-bid-build. In this scenario, you, the homeowner, will have three major responsibilities. First, you have to hire an architect and/or interior designer to create plans for your construction project. Second, you have to send the completed plans out to multiple contractors, who will then bid on the project. Once you choose a contractor, though, your work isn’t done. Throughout the construction process, you will have to function as the go-between for your designer.  This means that if design changes are made along the way, it’s your responsibility to ensure your designer and contractor are keeping abreast of these changes and working in synch.

The residential design-build process challenges this traditional model. With all your design and construction services under one roof, the burden of ensuring constant communication among the parties is lifted off your shoulders. When all the professionals working on your project are familiar with one another, communication flows naturally among the team. For this reason, adjusting design plans tends to go more smoothly.

Check out our blog on the pros and cons of design-build and design-bid-build, to decide which process is right for you!

3. Does Hiring a Design-Build Firm Cost More?

Yes and no. Because design-builder firms supply architectural, design, and construction services for your remodel, they may cost more upfront. However, because of the collaborative design-to-construct process, design-build projects are less likely to go over budget; with your design and construction team working together closely, they can actually come up with ways to save you money. However, because there is no competitive bidding process, as in design-bid-build, you need to hire a design-builder who will be transparent about cost. You need someone you can trust to give you the best price possible, so spend time getting to know your prospective design-builder before making any decisions. 

4. Does the Homeowner Have Less Control with a Design-Build Firm? 

Because the design-build process requires less work from homeowners, some worry that they may have less control of their project using design-build vs an architect and general contractor. That’s absolutely not the case! 

Take Cooper Sky’s design-build process, for example. We focus on remodeling historic buildings into modern homes, without compromising the history that makes each home so unique. Due to the challenges that come with remodeling a historic home, this process requires attention to detail, careful planning, and fine execution. So, we gather input from our clients every step of the way to make sure we get the job done right. And since clients work with Copper Sky for design and construction, they get more face time with our professionals, thus more opportunity for collaboration. That’s how we handle things at Copper Sky, but not every design-builder is the same. Don’t be afraid to ask design-builders how big of a role their clients play in the design and construction phases!

5. Why Should You Choose a Design-Build Remodeler? 

Only you know what’s right for your construction project, but there are many reasons why hiring a design-build contractor may be beneficial. With design-build, you’ll work with one company throughout the conceptualization, design, and construction phases. With so much time to get to know you, your design-build team will come to understand your personal style as well as your lifestyle needs; designing and constructing with those two things in mind allows design-build teams the opportunity to create the homes that are a perfect fit for their owners. 

Another advantage of design and remodeling firms is that they can make life easier for you! Communication will flow effortlessly, plus you'll never be put in the middle if the architect and builder have differences of opinion on the design. When your design and construction teams work together harmoniously, it’s much easier to overcome any challenges or obstacles that befall the project. Working with a design-build firm actually puts you in a more secure position financially, as well. Your design-build firm will assume the contractual risk for all facets of the build, whereas there may be gaps and exposure to risk in the design-bid-build processes.

Are you looking for a design-builder to handle your Atlanta, Georgia remodel? Copper Sky has 19 years of experience in renovating historic Atlanta homes. We’re passionate about creating homes that honor history while accommodating the needs of modern-day living. Click on our about page to learn more about Copper Sky’s design-build process to see if we’re the right fit for your remodel! Then visit our services to get started.


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