There are two major terms that are frequently applied to projects in the construction industry: general construction and design-build. General construction is an umbrella term that is used to describe a variety of construction projects including builds and remodels. Design-builds refer to projects that a general contractor would design and complete from end-to-end. The terms seem similar, but what makes design-build different than general construction?
The biggest difference in the two terms is the design-build begins with the design of the building, hence the name. This is not necessarily a service that all general construction firms, companies, or individuals offer. During a design-build, a contractor works with designers, architects, and construction experts from the start of the project. They create a holistic view of the final construction. Their combined experience and knowledge of permits, materials, and labor offers a complete solution and timeline that is oftentimes more accurate for the customer.
Let’s look at these benefits of design-builds over general construction.
First: total cost of the project. Because a general contractor or general construction company handles the build from end-to-end, they can use the relationships they have created over a number of years to put a complete project package together. This allows transparent communication between specialists, particularly the contractor and architect, to collaborate and make any changes. This leads to fewer change orders during the project which helps keep costs down and delivers results faster. It also ensures a more accurate labor assessment and materials cost.
A second benefit is a more efficient and precise timeline. Due to the open communication among project members and their teamwork, processes can be streamlined. It also helps keep scheduling delays at a minimum. Design-build reduces the amount of time that the client or owner is spending managing a build as well. In a typical construction project a client would work with both a designer and a general contractor. However, in design-build the owner or client is interacting with a single point of contact and managing just one contract. This not only decreases time, but also keeps the owner from having to be a middleman and settle disputes between the designer and contractor.
Lastly, a design-build helps keeps project problems at bay. Due to the team-oriented approach, design-build projects have high levels of transparency and communication. These two things allow a team to align with a vision and become stakeholders. As the project progresses they can assess opportunities or analyze schedules keeping the build on track and mitigate any issues that may potentially arise.
Though it may seem like general construction and design-build are interchangeable terms, they are not. Ultimately the biggest difference is the single-contract end-to-end nature of the project. However, the benefits of cost, speed, and communication are also part of what makes design-build different than general construction. As a client or project owner, working with a general construction company that offers design-builds can eliminate headaches and give you the smoothest and cost-effective project from conception to completion.
Interested in more on Design-Build? See BuildRite Construction’s services in this area.