Home Improvement

What are the Pros and Cons of Design-Build Construction?


Approaching the complexity of building a new home or new office building means that there are a lot of things to take care of, right from the get-go.  The most important thing to decide on is what type of approach to constructing a new building is best for the person, or people, involved.

Today, there are two approaches to construction:  The first is traditional design construction and the new approach is to hire a design-build company to complete the project.  Which is the best one to use?

Here are a few pros and cons to Design-Build versus Traditional Project Delivery:

The biggest disadvantage to using a traditional approach to the completion of a building project is the inconvenience of trying to manage two contracts at once.  This has been done for decades, but people often find that trying to manage them both can lead to confusion and confrontation.  The Design-Build approach attempts to alleviate these concerns by offering both contractors through one company, thereby eliminating having to talk to two people or two companies to get the job done.

The other issue with having a design company and a contractor is that when something goes wrong the two companies involved are more likely to play the blame game, rather than admit their responsibility for issues, like cost overruns.  It is these kinds of issues that can result in bigger fights, where construction or remodeling jobs can be brought to a halt while the people having the work done have to smooth ruffled feathers.

These disagreements can happen fairly early on, as well.  It is possible for the design company to complete a design for a remodeling project, only to have the contractor come in and say, for example, that the wiring will not work with the current setup.  It is possible a contractor might even say that a design change is needed because of too much space taken out of a load-bearing wall or that there is not sufficient support for a higher floor being installed.

Arguments over the costs of a remodeling project or new construction can also result in the slowing down of a project.  A designer might say that a kitchen remodel they have created will cost twenty thousand dollars, but then a contractor may come in after the design is completed and claim that it will cost closer to thirty, which leaves the owners of the house in a lurch as to expected costs versus actual ones.

Even the type of materials that are tagged as being the ones to use for the actual construction might be changed by the contractor due to their own views as to which ones are more suitable to that type of construction or remodel.

The biggest pro, of course, to traditional construction is that it has been the trusted way of doing construction and remodelling for years.  It is viewed as reliable, but the new approach of hiring a Design-Build company does offer a more collaborative approach.

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