Pros and Cons of Hiring a Design-Build Contractor

Design build contractors are sometimes touted as providing certain benefits for owners, such as the ability to work with one team for the entire project. However, it’s important to understand the drawbacks of going with this approach as an owner. This process could end up costing more than you expected for different reasons. Keep the following in mind when you’re looking into options for your remodeling projects.

Disadvantages of Design Build Firms

Design build firms typically take a top-down approach that puts homeowners last. When you work with one of these firms, you will usually receive a soft bid on your project from the builder. A soft bid is a general bid without all the details included. Design build firms in the Bay Area might present this as a cost-effective and efficient way to have your new house built, but it usually ends up being much more of a benefit for the builder. They use this soft bid to get you in the door knowing that if they can be the low bid at this point, you probably won’t want to switch halfway into the process when all the hard costs are added.

One of the biggest drawbacks of working with a design build firm is a lower chance of being able to submit a competitive bid. This lack of competitive bidding can result in higher costs overall. You will also face limited options in terms of designs, which means you could be paying more for a remodel that represents what is preferred by the architect and the builder instead of what you want. Keep in mind that builders in design build firms usually subcontract work out to other professionals, such as architects, interior designers and engineers. You may think a design build firm employs all these people, but the often do not. They aren’t getting together to discuss your job. It’s a series of handoffs — exactly what you probably didn’t want.

During the design build process, builders and architects might not discuss your budget until a later point in the project. This puts you at risk of finding out that your project is actually going over your budget. By the time you find this out, you are too far along in the process to back out. You’ll then have to face a challenging decision to make changes to your project as needed in order to stay within your budget or accept the higher cost.

Design-to-Build Firm – the Better Way

If you want to minimize the risk of paying more for a home remodel that you’re not entirely satisfied with, consider a Design-to-Build approach instead. This type of approach puts you first as the homeowner and ensures that you will be kept in the loop throughout the project. When using a design-to-build solution, you will be working with architects, interior designers, builders and other professionals to create the project that meets your needs while also staying within your budget.

A Design-to-Build approach combines the advantages of the traditional building process with the design build process. Using this kind of approach gives you the advantage of being able to work with architectural designers to create the remodeling plan you want while receiving timely input from builders on estimated construction costs. This allows you to make adjustments as needed to stay in your budget. Having an architectural designer, interior designer and builder collaborating on your project helps keep costs down overall and provides a more streamlined approach.

If you’re looking for more information on design build firms Bay Area, please contact Drafting Cafe Architects. Visit us for a free online instant estimate and to learn more about our architectural design services. We offer a Design-to-Build approach to help you create the home you’ve always wanted.


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground