What is Design-Build?

It’s the fastest growing and most popular method used to deliver construction projects. Design-Build companies differ from each other. Some have designers as staff, some subcontract architectural firm and/or interior design team to design the project.

How is Design-Build set at Pionarch?

Pionarch consists of two teams that work together or independently depending on the need and client’s comfort level with our company. Some clients like the idea of one team and some must do the design first to start trusting us. We do not force anyone to make that decision at the day one. We believe trust must be gained and we work hard to prove ourselves.  

Project Delivery

Traditional Project Delivery
The Owner must manage two separate contracts which all-too-often creates an adversarial relationship between the designer and the contractor. If something goes wrong or an unforeseen circumstance requires changes, the designer and contractor blame one another for the cost overruns or schedule changes, often leading to litigation and delays which add to the project cost.
Traditional Project Delivery is mostly used when the client wants to design the project to establish the budget.
Design-Build Project Delivery
The Owner manages only one contract with a single point of responsibility. The designer and contractor work together from the beginning, as a team, providing unified project recommendations to fit the Owner’s schedule and budget. Changes are addressed by the entire team, leading to collaborative problem-solving and innovation, not excuses or blame-shifting. While single-source contracting is the fundamental difference between design-build and the old ways, equally important is the culture of collaboration inherent in design-build. The design-build process starts with a budget. Pionarch can adhere to the budgetary constrains if the client is willing to work with us on the scope and materials to stay within the budget. Once client’s start making changes, the budget may easily be altered.

 

What is the advantages of design-build system ?

It’s a great question and with over a long time of design-build experience, we feel like it’s a good time to call out our top ten reasons why the design-build system is worth considering:

1. Everybody is on the same team:

All the team is together and all have the same goal to arrive at a successful project that meets or exceeds the client’s expectations. When challenges are encountered on a project (and there are always challenges), pointing fingers is not an option, everyone works on solutions.

2. Responsibility: 

One entity is responsible for everything including how the end result looks, how much it costs and the timeline of the project. When the same group that designs the project also builds the project, there tends to be much more attention given to pricing and scheduling in the design phase.
The cost of the project is taken into account early on in the process.
Unfortunately, it’s normal for us to hear from people that “their remodel cost twice as much as the architect said it would”, while it’s less probability to fall into such problem in design- build. Design- build focuses on results, not excuses.

3. Continuity:

A design-build firm is involved from start to finish, which adds a high efficiency and quality at work.

4. Expertise:

Design-build firms are experts in both fields. The principals should be an architects with formal architectural training and experience in the architecture field. They should also have professional experience in construction and understand pricing, sequencing and how buildings go together.

5. The best kind of communication is open, honest and often:

Design-build is transparent because we want clients to understand the process and to know what’s going on. The best partnerships work, not because people say what everyone wants to hear, but because they say what everyone needs to hear. Through clear communication the budget is defined early on and it becomes the agreement for the entire project.

6. Time is of the essence:

Design and construction involves managing hundreds of timelines that needed to manage the project. Design-build creates opportunities for clients to sit with big decisions, ask questions, and consider their options. Anything the team can do to avoid taking steps backwards is going to lead to better, faster and more cost-effective results.
Big decisions can be revisited during construction without change orders or additional fees.

7. Cost savings:

The design-build model is a savings of approximately 10% of the project costs. We’ll save the details for a future post but here’s the quick hint found online:
  • Pionarch’s residential design fees in design-build process are based on construction cost budget.  Our budgetary design fees tend to be around 6% before the fixed cost proposal is established. The budget in the first stages of design is established by square footage of the in-scope area times 250 dollars per square foot. 250 dollars per square foot is an average cost in Massachusetts. It is considered to be a medium quality products. Pionarch does not reduce construction quality based on budget. We are well known for high quality in medium price range for design and construction services in Massachusetts. When the budget cost proposal is accepted we charge 3% of the new construction budget to finish the design. We draw construction plans that are good for permit and approvals as well as construction.
What is included in 6% design cost vs. 3% of left over cost?
  • 6% design cost includes due diligence, schematic design and design development. The 3% is your cost for permit set. Since it can mean a lot of things or nothing at all to most people, please see explanation below:
What is due diligence?
Due Diligence is an investigation on the property including the building condition to confirm all facts, such as site constrains (conservation land, FEMA regulations, zoning constraints, code constraints or updates) During this process we search for data and present your with a report of findings.
What is Schematic Design?
In Schematic Design we measure the area in scope and draw existing conditions model. We meet with you to discuss space requirements and draw proposed layouts. We present them to you for approval. Sometimes we develop several options.
What is Design Development?
In Design Development Pionarch looks for finishes and starts drawing details like millwork, kitchen layout etc. We produce set of specifications to be included in the fixed price proposal. We contact structural engineer (separate fee) and coordinate the structural engineer’s information within our drawing set.
What is Permit Set?
Permit set of drawings are drawings for the city/town to keep as records and tax purposes. The set includes schedules, code, details and everything a contractor needs to know to build the project. This is the set Pionarch takes to the building department before the start of construction. It takes few weeks for the jurisdiction to approve the drawings. 
What is construction administration?
Many times when the contractor has a question, the architect shows up to control the work progress and quality. In the design-build model the construction administration is minimal. When questions raise we come to the site for an hourly fee. A lot of projects do not require administration unless there is an unforeseen condition that raises.
8. Organization at work:
Working as a single integrated group makes work more organized in many ways (time, Money, final result…ext)
Design and construction shouldn’t be chaotic or stressful. A design-build firm is a beacon to clients throughout the process, guiding the way to the best possible outcome. 
Design-build refines a system from beginning to end and manages the chaos into orderly steps.

9. Involvement:

Design-build operates under the assumption that the client actually wants to be an active participant in the design and construction of their home. By taking an involvement they’re guaranteeing that they get the outcome and satisfaction of their goals  what they want is going to be achieved. We’ve found that such an involvement is inspiring and gives people a lasting sense of pride about their home.

10. Quality:

Working as a one group makes work more organized in many ways, and provides high quality results. Our estimates are based on detailed construction documents. We call them fixed price proposals. We use specification spreadsheets that are visible to the clients in google docs and include the line items from the spreadsheets. Pionarch charges 20% on top of material cost for ordering and coordination. It is common practice the contractor marks up the materials. We highly recommend we order the materials, as many times the delivery has to be scheduled around the construction progress. Some materials come damaged and we take care of the returns. At the end of the day it is less hassle to the client and the contractor. 

 

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