The Pros And Cons Of The Design Build Process

by Claude Walters

Getting a design-build home builder in on a project is a choice many families pursue. You may wonder, however, what the pros and cons of building custom homes this way might be. Let's look at five pros and cons you should consider before you start hunting for a custom home builder.

1. Pro: Adaptability

If the site you're planning to build on presents a number of unique challenges, there's a lot to be said for using a custom process. Challenges may range from the terrain to issues with nearby neighbors or the local government. Being able to make tweaks to the structure as you move forward can reduce the headaches involved.

2. Con: Reduced Shopping Options

This will function as a pro for folks who want to minimize the bother of a project. Many people, however, are looking to get the job done for the lowest dollar. Design-build homes are constructed under a single contract without significant subcontracting. That means there's less opportunity to find ways to trim costs by getting a great deal from a roofer, for example. If you're committed to working with a particular designer or architect, this approach can also be very limiting.

3. Pro: Streamlined Accountability

As a project moves forward, blame for failures has a way of not finding a single landing spot. The design-build process puts all accountability into one contract, and that means you know who to talk to if you're not happy with something.

4. Mixed: Ability to Finance

On one hand, you'll have immense confidence that whatever you've financed represents something close to the final number for a project. On the other hand, folks who are trying to shoehorn jobs into very limited financing may run up against the limits of a company to accommodate their needs. It's a good idea to line up all the necessary financing before you move ahead on a job, and this will make it easier to identify a custom home builder that's right for your project.

5. Pro: Ease of Communication

Problems come up on virtually every build, and solving them requires excellent communication. With the design, engineering, and construction all being done by one organization, there will be less friction as a job moves forward. For example, it's common for an architect to question whether the right materials were used for critical components like support beams. When working with a design-build firm, everyone will be on the same page.