Don’t Dump Your Designer When Construction Begins! (the Benefits of a Design/Build Firm)

As long as I have been involved in construction, it has been more common for customers to ditch the architect or designer as soon as they believe they have the drawings to get the building permit. I think that for some folks they feel like they need to stop the bleeding on design investment…lol, or they fell out of love with the architect after the bids came in higher than the budget they communicated. 


There are a few great reasons to keep your design team engaged with the build team on a regular basis- and most of them will save you money, hassle and time. As part of our process, we have a designer present at the weekly construction meeting wearing a “project coordinator hat” that keeps selections, catalogues, and administration finely tuned… and when the design questions arise as they will, there’s a rapid response to any issue.


Here are a few examples of where this helps:


  1. Scheduled site visits save money. First and foremost, if there is no schedule for site visits by the designer, they may have to be reactive to an issue without understanding the current tempo of the production, or what the existing conditions look like post demo or framing. Not being part of the team means that the new client they are designing for may not have the command of their time, and they may not be able to make an unscheduled visit if there is an urgent item that requires immediate attention.
  2. Working together on the project during construction creates the “team”. If the designer participates in a meeting with the construction manager during the process, they have a better chance of creating a good working relationship that is more team focused on the best outcome for you rather than advocacy driven. Another benefit is the ability to make changes or resolve design or construction issues faster and without animosity… not that that ever happened!.
  3. The same thoughtfulness that goes into the planning of your dream space should continue during the construction. You may have an opportunity to make a change that is very beneficial, and if you want to change something, the design professional can offer the same experience to ensure some other item does not come up as a result of the change.

As a great example, we are currently working on a project with a very talented interior designer that the clients wanted to use. We collaborated on the best use of time and resources because we offer overlapping services. She helped select the tile and we drew the tile plan in our office so we could get the plan approved faster, while she went shopping for other items with the client. Because this project was fast tracked to be done before the owners close on their current home, it is making the clients experience less stressful. Simply being involved in the e-mail threads keep all the designers and construction staff working together and keeping the clients best interest at the forefront. 


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