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The Problem With Design-Build Firms

Design-Build is a terminology you probably came across during your design-build study. You might have even seen design-build grouped along with other home remodeling alternatives, such as designers and general contractors. But what exactly does that Mean for you, the potential homeowner? Is a design-build company the right direction to go with your next project?

It's best explained by way of an analogy. Think of a job application. When you fill out your information, it's filled out in a variety of ways. You've got basic requirements, qualifications, skills, education, experience, etc. The design phase of the project from this site (which is the "interior design") involves filling out the form for the designer, which is then completed by the construction team.

This form becomes (and ultimately becomes) the building documentation for the finished product. In design-build firms, this document is edited by the architect who oversees the project (who also performs the architect drafting services). Once the architect approves the final draft, and the client (you!) approves the contract, it goes to the design-build firm for execution. The firm then turns around and delivers the completed design to the client. Easy enough, right?

Now, let's step back for a moment. What if you're the general contractor who has hired the design-build firm to oversee the construction of your commercial building or remodel? What if you've written the contract (or memos, manuals, etc.) that specify that you'll get the completed project in the manner you've outlined and that you're also the one who pays the architect, the general contractor, and the designer? You might say "but my contract with the other folks mentioned said that we'd pay them as well as the designer", and you'd be right... but what about all of the revisions, amendments, changes, etc. Be sure to learn more here!

Well, in today's world, these "GAP Practices" has become very problematic, to say the least. The main reason why architectural and construction companies turn to design-build firms to oversee their projects is because they feel like they can't trust their architects, contractors, and structural engineers to develop an accurate and comprehensive construction plan. After all, in our imperfect world, mistakes happen; usually due to oversight. This is especially true in the design-build industry, because even the best-trained and most experienced architects, engineers, and structural engineers can make mistakes (as they are all human), as can the best-performing construction company on the planet.

So, let's say you've signed a five-year, large construction contract with a design-build firm. Say, also, that you've located the perfect home for your family and friends, designed everything to your liking, and negotiated a price you're comfortable with. One day, just as you're halfway through the project, you get a phone call from your architect; he or she tells you that one of the major pillars of your house needs to be changed. Okay, so your architect isn't telling you this because it will affect the way the rest of the home looks - so don't worry - it's just the one thing your contractor doesn't want you to know about yet. It's up to you to find out, of course, and you do - in fact, you do this all during the construction phase. For more facts about architects, visit this website at

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