To begin the process of building your project, you need to start somewhere right? In a lot of cases, business owners flock to an architect to first begin the process. This first step is not necessarily the wrong first step but there are other options that may guide you in the right direction faster and with faster design time, cost savings and a faster construction timeline. First let's start by understanding that an architect first needs to understand what goal you want to reach with your design. Then there will be a few meetings and long periods of understanding between the two different parties while the owner of the project is trying to simultaneously figure out if what is being designed is affordable.
A more streamline approach to getting your project designed while getting affordable design ideas implemented is called Design-Build from a construction design-build capable company. This process means that you, the owner, will only have to deal with one company and only have one point of contact for the entire project. When there are questions and concerns, then you simply only have to call one company who is responsible for your design and construction. A construction company that facilitates the designing process will actually work with an architect after consulting with the owner, but the difference is that the contractor will walk the owner along the process the entire way through from design phase to completion of the project. The contractor in this process saves the owner time and money because the contractor knows the most up-to-date cost of materials and labor to build your project then uses that knowledge to fit your budget. The contractor steers the boat in the design phase to ensure that the cost of the design will not spiral out of control by having up-to-date cost in mind with the owner's budget. The contractor understands how design affects cost immediately when the first draft of drawings are presented. Whether you begin an idea on a paper napkin or drafting paper, the contractor can steer you in the right direction regarding cost and the function of your project. Once the core design, floor-plan, and functions are met for your project, then more specific details and specifications can be added to your drawings such as mechanical (HVAC), electrical, and plumbing with some engineering consultation.
The process of design-build also provides the benefit of faster design time! One reason is because while the design process is occurring, the partial drawings are being analyzed for pricing so the contractor is not waiting for the entire set of plans to be completed to begin pricing. This process saves a lot of time. I'm sure you have experienced having drawings completed by an architect to only wait for the bids to start rolling in much higher over budget than expected. The design-build process eliminates that experience and replaces it with real-time design adjustments and pricing. As the contractor is overseeing the design process and notices areas where value engineering (cost saving strategies) can occur, the owner will appreciate the speed and collaborative effort.
To summarize, the design-build process offers one point of contact, faster design time, and lower overall project cost including design fees!