When building a new house, people often turn to architects to kick off the project. However, a different model is becoming more popular: design-build. Instead of dividing tasks between separate architect and construction companies, design-build firms cover the entire project from the initial design through final construction.
What is a Design-Build firm? Design-Build firms take on the responsibilities of architects, contractors and construction companies, all under one roof. These firms focus on a streamlined process from the initial design to the estimating phase to physical construction in hopes of creating an efficient experience for both the client and the company. Because the entire project is happening within one company, design-build firms are able to reduce the delivery schedule by overlapping the design and construction phases of the project, often speeding up the project significantly. In addition, these firms work to minimize risks for the project owner through single-point responsibility contracts.
Before deciding on a design-build firm or making any final decisions, think about what you want from your new home. Do you want a large kitchen for entertaining? Do you need several bedrooms for children and guests? Do you want a finished basement for extra space or storage? Look for design-build firms that specialize in the areas you're looking for. Budget is obviously a determining factor in the outcome of your project. To make sure you stay within your means, consider making a "must-have" list and a "wish" list. Gauge where the estimates are falling to determine which design-build firms can realistically strike the balance between the two.
Questions to ask a prospective design-build firm:
How long have you been in the business?
How many projects like mine have you completed?
Who will be working on the project?
Are they employees or subcontractors?
Can you provide me with references?
Who is your designer and what are their qualifications?
Are your employees licensed and insured?
How do you charge and what does that include?
Can you provide me a written estimate?
What do your services include?
When can your job get done?
What happens when cost exceeds the budget? What about changes to materials or labor pricing?
What will I need to provide?
Are there any important considerations or concerns you foresee with this project?
Find a design-build firm on Houzz. Narrow your search in the Professionals section of the website to Design-Build Firm, then choose the metro area in which you'd like to find a firm. You may also look through photos by style, like Traditional, Asian, Contemporary, Modern, Eclectic, Mediterranean or Tropical, to find a pool you like, then contact the design-build firm that designed it.