The Design/Build Advantage

When a client chooses to work with a well-balanced and professional design-build entity the outcome simply saves time and money. Relationships are transformed into an alliance which fosters collaboration and teamwork. Compared to the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method there are many advantages to using the design-build method of construction:

Single Point of Contact

The design-build approach provides a single source for the entire project. In the classic design-bid-build method the owner must: Select an architect/designer, finalize the design, bid the project, select a contractor, and then act as an intermediary. Contrary to this, by utilizing a collaborative team that includes the architects, builders, subcontractors, suppliers, as well as the owner, the design-builder can ensure the owner’s goals are met. This method fosters teamwork and lends itself to cooperation. The relationship built during the design phase helps to ensure that the stage is set for a successful construction project.

Budget Management

Outlining anticipated project costs during the design phase helps to keep the projects within a realistic budget. Communicating the cost implications of design decisions ensures that the owner plays a key role in arriving at the final project price. Once the scope of work has been finalized, the project costs are clearly defined and controlled by the design-build firm.

Enhanced Communication

Specific design and construction details are being developed throughout the entire process and the focus stays on owner “value”. The communication benefits of working with a design professional and a construction expert at the same time ensures that potential problems are discovered before the project starts.

Faster Project Completion

Design-build projects can be completed in a shorter amount of time as bid time is reduced, scheduling for the project can begin before design is finalized, potential construction problems are uncovered early and enhanced communication keeps everything moving. As a fully integrated team the amount of time from the inception of a project to its completion can be considerably reduced.

Quality Control

The design build method helps to remove ambiguity that may arise in material and construction specifications. Since the designer, engineer and builder are from the same firm, the focus remains on protecting the client’s investment.

Becoming An Architect

Becoming a licensed architect is a long journey consisting of several professional milestones:

  • Formal education from an institution accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board
  • Several years of professional experience under the direct supervision of a licensed architect.
  • Successful completion of all seven divisions of Architectural Registration Examinations as well as any
    other jurisdiction-specific requirements (additional testing & experience).
  • Obtaining initial licensure in one of the United States 54 jurisdictions.
  • Maintaining one’s license thru continued education.

Once licensed, professional architects may choose to seek additional accreditation with the National
Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). NCARB certification signifies that an individual has met
the highest professional standards established by the registration boards responsible for protecting the
health, safety and welfare of the public.

The Architectural Design Process

If you choose to enlist the services of a professionally licensed architect you can be assured they are well
versed with the standard practice of architecture which typically consists of the following phases:


Although not always necessary a client may enlist an architect to help them develop
a program for their project. This phase consists of gathering information, assembling the client’s
requirements and presenting them in an organized fashion which clearly outlines what the project
needs to provide.

Schematic Design (SD)

During this phase of the architectural design process the information that
has been obtained from the client is used to create various design options for consideration. This is
usually done with sketches and other graphic presentation materials to help the client visualize the
different directions the project could take. Preliminary cost estimates are provided at this time to
help ensure the selected design does not exceed the client’s budget.

Design Development (DD)

Once a schematic design has been agreed upon it is further refined by
working thru requested modifications and necessary revisions to make the design function properly.
Cost estimates that were established during the SD phase are revised to reflect any changes that
have been made.

Construction Documents (CD)

By this point a final design has been established and the preparation
of drawings, notes, and technical specifications necessary for bidding, construction, and permit
application begins. Contractors use these detailed drawings and specifications to prepare for the
next phase in the architectural design process.

Bidding & Negotiations

If an architect participates in the bidding phase of home construction the
client is at a great advantage. They will be able to assist the client in developing a list of qualified
contractors and help assemble comprehensive “bid packages” for the bidders to review and submit
pricing on. Architects can also assist in reviewing submitted bids, provide analysis, and help the client
compare costs from the various bidders. This phase ensures the contractors being considering for
the construction project are reading the plans and specifications correctly and are providing an
accurate bid for the project.

Construction Administration

Once a contractor has been selected and work begins the final phase
of the architectural design process, construction administration, commences. It is during this phase
the architect helps administer the construction process to assure conformance with design intent
and the client’s vision. During the course of construction site visits are conducted at pre-determined
intervals at which time various issues can be addressed and proper direction provided.

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