By Dave Bernard
Courtesy of Weitzer Construction
So, you managed to find a cute little bungalow in a great neighborhood, but you move in only to realize that the dining room – designed for Ward and June Cleaver – doesn’t really work for your life in the 21st century. How do you approach the problem? Hire an architect to sort it all out? Or just tell a contractor to start knocking out walls?
How about the best of both worlds? It’s called “design-build,” a specific approach to building projects offered by contracting companies that specialize in the process.
Design-build is an alternative to the common “design-bid-build” delivery method. Under this standard approach, design and construction services are split into separate operations, separate contracts and separate work. With design-build, the builder works under a single contract, with the project owner, to provide design and construction services – including project management for every aspect of the job. The design-build process aligns with the time-honored master builder approach of days gone by.
One company and one contract means one unified flow of work from initial concept through completion. Teamwork and integration are a key component. The folks who helped with your design are likely the same ones who will be doing the hammering and sawing.
“It’s really an efficient way to work,” said Portland design-build contractor, Nick Weitzer. “It allows the client and design-builder to address issues related to cost, site or permit limitations in the moment – without the owner having to go through a designer or architect, a contractor – and in some cases an engineer.”
The most important benefit, said Weitzer, is the sense of collaboration that design-build offers.
“We can stand in your kitchen with you while you explain your vision. Maybe you don’t have it completely worked out. Maybe it’s just a sense of how you want the space to function,” he said.
Weitzer said smart communication helps everyone win.
“You do the talking, we do the listening. We ask questions and point out opportunities that you may not have thought of,” Weitzer said. “It’s an exciting, co-creative partnership. Building is one of the biggest financial commitments a person can make. The process should be satisfying, not scary!”
Weitzer speaks as if a remodel can actually be fun and stresses that design-build contractors also work with architects and often are preferred because the company actually doing the building has trained designers or licensed architects as part of their team. This offers a higher level of expertise and quality control.
For people who can’t afford to hire an architect or have a smaller remodel or just need to move fast, design-build can be a great way to go.
For more information about design build, visit weitzercompany.com.