What Is A Design-Build Firm?

When considering what direction you should take in the building of your new project, part of your deliberation should be on if you choose to engage with a design-build firm. A design-build firm is a project delivery option that includes all aspects of design, planning, costing, and construction together under a single contract. Across North America, homeowners and developers are embracing the design-build concept and its umbrella style of contract. Whereby combining the design and construction phase under one agreement, the homeowner can meet tighter deadlines and avoid situations where they may be caught in contract disputes between a design firm and a building contractor.

Which Services Do Design-Build Firms Offer?

A design-build firm should offer a complete service. All managed by the same team, delivering a seamless progression from conception to completion. Design-build is a method of construction that is handled from start to finish under a single contract between the owner and the builder. The defining difference saves you money and time, by fostering the working relationship between the design team and the construction team under one umbrella. This alliance ensures collaboration and teamwork among the different design and trade professionals tasked with bringing your project to fruition.

The design-build firm also becomes a partner in the project with you, the homeowner. Working together with everybody’s input and ideas, you and the design-build firm develop the building design from initial concepts. Delivering the ultimate design and plans you are envisaging. With this collaboration, the design-build team can produce a customized and quality product for you.

The Benefits Of A Firm

Not only does hiring a design build firm help speed up the project completion, but benefits homeowners by way of smart and cost-effective construction solutions. Allowing you to be confident that the job will reach completion within budget. There is a unified workflow within the firm when finalizing the design and preparing documentation such as reports, approval applications, and purchase orders. With streamlined scheduling, the job then moves smoothly onto the building phase. This approach enables some of the design processes, approvals, and build processes to overlap. Thus, saving time and facilitating the job’s progression.

design build firm

Budgeting and Planning

Keeping in mind the budget for the project and prioritizing savings and efficiencies wherever possible, the design-build contractor will be able to price the project from start to finish. As well as give you a completion deadline that they will position all their planning and scheduling around. This approach gives you a lot more certainty. Not only in the final project cost but in a delivery deadline. In the relationship with the design-build contractor, the homeowner almost becomes one of the team. Ongoing and transparent communication in real-time is the advantage here. They will keep you up to date with progress, discuss any setbacks and solutions, all while taking on your suggestions and feedback into consideration.

The Homeowner’s Due Diligence

With a design-build contract, owners have a single point of responsibility. Which helps minimize risks and lands accountability square in the lap of the design-build firm. Of course, you need to do your due diligence in your search for the ideal design-build firm for your project. Check their track record, the projects they have delivered, their reputation, and their portfolio specialties. If you are building a single-family home, a firm that is renowned for its condominiums may not be the right contractor for your project.

Important Questions For You To Consider:

·      Can you provide client references from previous jobs?

·      May I make changes once the job commences?

·      How much involvement will I be permitted?

·      Are you licensed and insured?

·      How does your fee structure work?

·      Are there staged progress payments?

·      Who are your qualified team members at each stage of the project?

·      Will you appoint a project supervisor to liaise with me?

·      Are there any contentious issues with my design concept?

·      How much of my design concept wish list can I afford within my budget?


The advantages of opting for a design-build method of project delivery can be summed up as one entity. The attractions are faster delivery, cost efficiencies, transparency in quality, a single point of responsibility, decreased administration processes, reduced risks, and importantly the comfort of knowing you are protected should any mishaps occur.