About the Design Build Process

Design Build Process – Created by Design Build Specialists

Design Build Specialists has a unique process that helps our clients make an informed decision about whether they want to move forward with their project. Regardless of how large or small the job we want our clients to fully understand three things: 1) what it will look like 2) how much it will cost 3) how long it will take- before we begin any significant part of the work. These three things can be easy or complicated to deliver depending on the details. My job is to make it easy for you to understand regardless.

SIMPLE PROJECTS: We have installed just shy of 90 millions dollars of work over the past 34 years so it is easy to think we are to expensive for simple kitchens and baths or repair oriented projects but that would be a wrong assumption. We deliver value for a fair price that yields a good experience. We apply the same principles to all projects you just don’t get a detailed  drawing. You still get a estimate with details spelled out in written form and a time line of how long it takes.

However even small projects often warrant a small easy feasibility study.

Feasibility Study

A Feasibility Study gives you the needed information to make an informed decision.

The Problem With Architects:  Let me start by saying I am not against Architects. For certain projects Architects are indeed needed and I will be the first to recommend  a few if your project warrants their expertise. However, in my opinion,  the large majority of projects do not warrant their involvement. We can often deliver better design ( look at our projects and talk to our clients and judge for yourself) for half the cost in half the time. Hears the rub:  Architects get paid to do design and produce plans, and they have very little accountability for the client’s budget or how long the project will take.

We’d like to tell you a story – For years, we had clients who had paid thousands of dollars to Architects for plans that were never built, and the story was always the same. The Architect comes to the client’s home and they start talking about the project. The conversation comes around to the budget. The Architect says something like “Your project typically costs between X and Y. I work by the hour, and my fee is usually a certain % of the construction cost.”

The client thinks this reasonable and starts the process. From the initial conversation to the completion of the architectural plans, things change and grow, and the budget grows as well with cursory acknowledgment . Then comes the revelation! The client puts the job out to bid, and the price to build comes back substantially more than the client was expecting. And, by the way the cost to produce the architectural plans ends up being substantially more than the client was expecting. That money is spent and you are not getting it back.

The client is left with a choice: Either pay the Architect to decrease the scope, just suck it up and pay the added freight or don’t do the project at all. Those with means suck it up and those who don’t end up not doing the project ( hence the many clients I have met with old plans)  Or worse yet fall victim to a contractor that says he can do it for a number you like but is substantially less than the average bid (at the heart of many a bad experience). Or get talked into a time and material contract thinking this will cost less only to be blindsided by eventual higher end costs than even your high bids was at the beginning. Ask me how many times I have heard that story!  (T&M contracts are illegal in California for a reason)

OUR SOLUTION

This prompted us in 2002 to think there had to be a better way. Hence after much re tooling we developed the feasibility study that we use today and clients very much appreciate.

The Feasibility Study, for a reasonable fee, gives you these main deliverables:

  • We have checked with the city or county to make sure the basic zoning, set backs and floor area ratios are in line
  • You have Conceptual Drawings you can relate to (3D imaging shown on big screen TV at our office)- this is very unique and fun to work with- often we design with the client in real time
  • You have a realistic budget to get it done- based on unit costing developed over 30 years applied to the conceptual drawing- the drawings are still conceptual so it is not a exact number but is very close- as the design changes so does the budget
  • You get a MS project time line showing a start and a completion date that encompasses the whole project- not just construction (along with no process to add time for changes at heart of contractors underestimating how long a project takes)

If you decide to move forward with construction, our design-build process keeps your budget constantly in the forefront. As we progress and make changes and additions to the design, we’ll keep you apprised of exactly how those changes will affect your budget .When we get to the end of your project, there will be no surprises because everyone is on the same page, all along the way.

Our Value Proposition: You are  going to love us more at the end of the project than you did at the beginning!