There are two primary ways in which multi-unit construction is delivered: the design-bid-building method, and the design-build method. Although design-bid-build planning was traditionally utilized, the design-build method is growing in popularity due to its many benefits.
Design-bid-build planning method
The traditional design-bid-build process is where design and construction services are divided between the designer and the contractor. The designer and contractor each have separate contracts and separate scopes of work. Challenges arise with this type of process because each profession acts as its own entity rather than professionals joining together as a team with a common goal to complete the building project on time and within budget.
Design-build planning method
The design-build method brings design and construction professionals together as a team. It is advantageous for commercial real estate investors or commercial property owners to strongly consider this method for their new construction or major renovation projects.
The design-build process not only decreases costs and timelines, but decreases miscommunication and unwanted conflict during the process of building a multi-family construction project. Throughout the design-build process, the architect and builder coordinate, minimizing mistakes and subsequent costly change orders. The following are some benefits of the design-build delivery method:
- Build while staying within budget: The design-build process saves money, and commits to working within the established budget.
- Stays on the planned timeline for project completion: The design-build process is super-efficient and well-coordinated. It saves time in the long run due to its structure with architecture and construction professionals under one roof, and seasoned, trusted subcontractors with reliable skills working hard to surpass expectations.
- Prevents unnecessary problems: The design-build team and the owner’s representative are all in this together and unify as a team to reach a common goal. Problems are prevented or solved together.
- Provides consistency throughout the project: The design-builder is responsible for the whole construction project and ensures continuity in carrying out the plan and staying within budget throughout the process. The design-build delivery method is cohesive because the same skilled professionals are involved in the project from its beginning to its end.
- Combines the strengths of each profession for the best overall product: Design-build construction firms are experts in both construction and design. Their customers are satisfied with not only final products, but also the journey it takes to get there. They utilize the strengths of architects and builders and combine them into one entity.
- Delivers optimal results: When the design-build team collaborates with the owner or owner’s representative, better overall results are produced when building multi-family construction projects.
When preparing to build a multi-family unit, plan your work and work your plan. Here are some tips on planning the design-build of your next multi-family commercial property:
1. Hire the best design-build contractor for your project. Interview several prospects and make sure you check references, visit current worksites, observe past projects they’ve completed, and most of all, be sure you trust the person you hire.
2. Gain needed knowledge as an owner. You will need to make lots of decisions in the process of planning and executing the plan. The more knowledge you gain as an owner, the better your understanding of the questions you are asked. It’s important to be decisive, and specific in your decisions.
You will make wise decisions when you have a solid base of knowledge from which to draw in order to make those decisions. At times, you will need to make quick decisions, and they will be sound decisions if you’ve taken the time to gain knowledge about the planning and construction process.
If necessary, hire an owner’s representative that you trust to interact with your builder throughout the process. It will help if you or your owner’s representative gains the following before beginning the planning stages of construction:
- Knowledge of general construction
- A good understanding of materials from which to choose
- A basic knowledge of architectural styles and elements in which to include in your project
- A firm understanding of costs and how commercial construction projects come together
- A strong connection with a builder who has a trustworthy, dependable architect and skilled subcontractors
3. Define the work responsibilities for each member of the design team. Build successful projects by beginning with a clear understanding of goals and a well-defined scope of work and expectations for each team member. There should be one point person, such as the builder or their representative, who connects with you to minimize miscommunication and streamline the overall process. They are the one responsible for completing the work and reaching the desired goals within budget and on time.
4. Measure the success of the team. Plan on measuring the success of the team before, during, and after project completion. Prevent problems, work through challenges, and collaborate for the best solutions. Success can be measured in areas such as:
- Staying within the budget
- Staying on schedule
- Maintaining excellence in each aspect of the project
5. Understand when top construction professionals work together as a team, success results. When you hire a reputable builder, you gain the benefits experienced team members have to offer throughout the building process. When professionals come together to solve problems and overcome unexpected challenges, success results. Team members experienced in their professions, and willing to work together for optimal solutions in each situation they encounter in the building process, ensure overall success in commercial construction projects.
Commercial Construction, Design, and Remodeling
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