What Is Design-Build?

The traditional (design-bid-build) approach to building can leave you to make important decisions on your own. You are responsible for finding an architect to draw your project and a contractor to build it. Then, you must ensure that they communicate and work together within your budget and vision.

Design-Build is different – it’s a one-stop-shop for all your design and construction needs. Collaboration among the owner, architect, design consultants and builder, from the initial concept through completion, enables the team to have a clear understanding of the client’s needs and expectations. You have one contract that adheres to your budget along with a group of our trustworthy, seasoned professionals to help you with any and all decisions or challenges along the way. You have greater control, a shorter completion schedule and improved risk management. There are no extra steps, no need to coordinate the efforts of multiple organization, no dropped balls.  Just step back, and watch your vision come to life.

Traditional vs. Design-Build Pros and Cons:

Traditional – Design-Bid-Build: Pros
  • Process well understood by owners, architects, and contractors
  • Allows for competitive bidding among both subcontractors and general contractors
  • Provides the lowest price for a given set of documents
Traditional – Design-Bid-Build: Cons
  • Allows no input from contractors during the design phase
  • May not provide the best “value” to the owner
  • Often bids come in over budget due to change orders
  • Takes more time for a thorough bidding phase
  • Difficult to identify long lead items which can lead to scheduling delays
  • Makes ‘fast track’ construction difficult if not impossible
  • Can lead to an adversarial relationship between the design team and the contractor
Design-Build Pros
  • Design-builder is single source of responsibility
  • Owner will determine the design and cost at an early stage
  • Design team working together with builder can provide most creative solution to any problem
  • Takes less time from inception of the project through completion since bidding phase is reduced and major design revisions are made early rather than later
  • Designer and builder are on same team eliminating adversarial relationships
  • “Fast Track” construction is facilitated
  • Allows for early and frequent input by contractor regarding budget
  • Can identify long lead items early to avoid scheduling delays
Design-Build Cons
  • Does not guarantee lowest cost based upon a given set of documents
  • Process not well understood by owner, architects and subcontractors
  • Perception by owner that there are no “checks and balances”

How Do I Pick The Right Design-Builder?: Part Three

Britton Destiny Center-14What are my needs? How do I know who to trust?

Do not base your church building selection on lowest price – make a determination on which design-builder gives you the most VALUE for your budget. The selection process can be simplified by using the following guidelines:

  • Understand both your short and long-term needs
  • Ask the right questions of the design-builder
  • Listen for the right questions
What Will an Experienced Design-Builder Ask Me?
You can gage the design-builder’s experience by the questions THEY ask of you. Here’s some of the things you should be hearing:
  • What is your membership?
  • What is your average worship attendance (AWA)?
  • How many services do you have on Sunday?
  • What are the times of the services?
  • What is your average education attendance for:

-Adults                                                                                                                                       -College Students
-High School
-Junior High School
-Grades 3-5
-Grades K-2

  • What times are you offering education?
  • What are the age demographics of your congregation?
  • What are your historical growth rates?
  • What is your current growth rate trend?
  • What age demographic is your projected growth coming from?
  • What style music do you have? Traditional / Contemporary / Both?
  • What kind of musical instruments do you have?

Note that these questions are directed at understanding who your church is. A good church design-builder will capture the essence of your heart and direction and apply their experience to suggest a variety of design and building options that suit your needs. You should avoid letting them steer you toward any one option simply because that is the only experience they have.