Copyright (c) 2008 Gary Belk
You’ve heard the horror stories and possibly lived through your own. The home remodel that was supposed to take six months, ends up taking a year or more. And the budget? Well, that was pretty much shot by the third month. The architect and the contractor (when you can find either one of them) are pointing fingers at each other. Subcontractors forget what day they’re supposed to show up. And the materials? Wasn’t the flooring supposed to be bamboo, not pine?
This is the world of remodeling. A process that’s guaranteed to make your every moment, either asleep or awake, a perpetual nightmare. For many people this can be like entering their own Twilight Zone. A hellish place of missed deadlines, cost overruns, and headaches that start at the pupils and sear through the brain. This is not a good place to be. And now, you don’t have to be in it.
Why? Because design/build firms around the country have taken the remodeling process and turned it on its head. What was a gruesome task has been transformed, through proper planning and administration, into a pleasant experience that saves time and money.
This is the world of design/build. An approach to remodeling that goes all the way back to the Egyptians, an approach that unifies and integrates every element of the remodeling process, from initial design to final completion. All under one roof, all in the hands of one company, and all with 100% accountability. If it worked for the pharaohs, you better believe it will work for you.
The beauty of design/build is in the simplicity of its structure. For comparison here is the way most remodeling jobs are currently handled.
With a regular remodeling job, the client typically consults with an architect who would draw up the plans for the project. Once a design has client approval the plans go out to bid to several general contractors. When the bids return, more often than not the client is surprised to learn that the architect’s initial estimate for the design is off by 50% or more. At this point the client’s architect must revise the design and resubmit the revised design to the general contractors so that they can revise their bids. This process may go several rounds, several thousands of dollars and often creates tension between all involved. This is a situation that lends itself to playing the blame game. If at the end of this excruciating process one of the general contractors is selected the process moves on to the next step. The contractor gives the client his contract and timetable. And voila, it begins! T’s crossed, I’s dotted, one nice straight line from beginning to end. The client assumes he’ll be enjoying that new addition, kitchen, whatever in a few months. The money is budgeted and the client can hardly wait. But in this case ‘wait’ may be the operative word.
Shortly into the job, the electrician tells the general contractor that he’s run into problems, because the plans weren’t drawn right (“problems” is a word the client is going to hear a lot). The contractor contacts the client who then has to track down the architect. Construction, of course, stops. Playing phone tag with the architect, who by now has moved on to other jobs, comes next. And when he is finally reached, he’s totally miffed that a subcontractor could possibly think his plans were anything less than perfection. Good lord, what’s the world coming to! And now the imbroglio heats up in earnest.
The electrician gets into it with the architect, the contractor wrings his hands in despair, and the client stands helplessly by. Finally, of course, agreement is reached on how to proceed, usually with no one assuming any responsibility for the error much less the delay.
But that’s far from the end of the story, because by now the general contractor’s subs have all gone off in different directions while the job was stalled. New work schedules, new supply delivery schedules, and just about new everything have to be re-figured. And it goes on, and on, and on. What doesn’t keep going on is the money budgeted for the remodel. It may be pretty much gone, period.
This scenario may be repeated may times before the job is finally finished ‘ late, over budget, and with probably a dozen compromises along the way. in summation, “the horror, the horror”. Now the typical design/build scenario: The client comes to the design/build firm with their ideas and concepts. The in-house design team which may include both an architect and an oterior designer, take the client’s needs and desire in to consideration and comes up with the design. It’s that simple, and the design process costs ½ as much as going to an architect.
But it gets even simpler. The in-house design team passes the blueprints on to the estimator who gets the best possible prices from suppliers and comes up with the total cost, and a construction timetable. Usually this is then presented to the client as a fixed price contract. And because the design/build firm is the general contractor on the remodel, everything is checked and double checked to make absolutely certain that everything will run smoothly and efficiently. They designed it ‘ now it is time to build it!
Since the process is under one roof with one primary source for accountability, the likelihood of squabbles, missed deadlines and cost overruns is much less likely.
Anyone who is contemplating remodeling plans in the future really owe it to themselves to sit down with a design/build firm in their area to talk about their project. Prospective clients should ask to see pictures of jobs that the design/build firm has done, and get testimonials from clients who have had jobs completed.
It doesn’t make any difference if you are planning a kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel or a new garage. ft. addition. The design/build approach will ultimately save that client money, time and aggravation (probably a lot of aggravation). And, of course, the remodel has a much better chance of being the way you want it – on-time and on-budget.
Source by Gary Belk