Why is Design-Build Construction A Better Building Process?

On Average, The Design-Build Process Reduces Change Orders and Results in Quicker Occupancy.

On Average, The Design-Build Process Reduces Change Orders and Results in Quicker Occupancy.

Property owners interested in building a new home, renovating or putting an addition on an old home will need professionals to do the design work and the construction. Some people will hire two separate companies to do this work, while others sign one contract with a “design-build” firm to complete the work.

So which option is better?

In the two-firm approach, the owner hires an engineer or architect to draft plans for the project. The owner then uses the plan to solicit bids from builders. Once a builder is selected, a second contract is signed. If there are problems with the design plans, or there is a dispute between the builder and the designer, the owner is forced to serve as the mediator, slowing down the process and driving up costs.

Design-build construction reduces the likelihood of this problem by having both designer and builder under one contract, working together to finish the project. When owners use a reliable and well-organized design-build team, change orders and disputes are rare and the responsibility of managing the contract is solely placed on the head of the design-build team.

Know your liability

When investing in a new home or major renovation, the last thing any owner wants is added costs and errors. Using a design-build team moves the responsibility of managing these problems off of the owner, eliminating the liability gap caused by two separate design and construction contracts.

Architects and engineers provide design services under the legal concept of a Standard of Care. They take your vision as an owner and prepare plans and specifications to the best of their abilities. However, there is no warrantee those plans will be perfect when handed over to the owner, and eventually to the builder.

When an owner takes those plans and opens the bidding process in search of builders, the legal concept of the Spearin Doctrine goes into effect. When the owners give the design documents to the contractor and the work begins, they are doing so with the understanding that the plans and specifications are correct and entirely sufficient for the project. Of course, there are occasions when the plans aren’t sufficient and a dispute between builder and designer arises, leaving the owner in the middle to work it out.

Design-build means efficiency and cost savings

In the commercial construction and real estate industry, design-build has been a growing share of the market for the past 15 years. Companies and government agencies appreciate the advantages of a single contract and limited liability because it means less management on their end, and a faster outcome.

The design-build model also works well in residential construction. Typically, local builders and designers who work under one contract do so either as part of one company or have formed a long-term relationship. This relationship increases trust in the workplace and efficiency, as builders become familiar with designers’ work and vice versa. Studies show these efficiencies result in finishing projects on time and under budget.

According to Penn State Research, design-build projects are built 12 percent faster and are completed from design to finish 33 percent faster than projects that use the design-bid-build method. The overall cost of design-build projects is 6.1 percent less than design-bid-build projects and the cost over-runs are 5.2 percent less.

Using the design-build method for constructing a project is not new. The “Master Builder” concept of having one person overseeing both design and construction is an ancient model, used for centuries before it was dismantled during the Industrial Revolution. Businesses and homeowners are coming back to the design-build concept again for its simplicity and efficiency.

If you have questions about Dube Plus and our design-build capabilities, please contact us today at (603) 329-5077 or if you're ready to go,  click here to start a project.

How to Choose a Contractor To Build Your or Remodel Home

New home construction, additions and remodeling adds value to your home. Be sure you have the best contractor for the job.

New home construction, additions and remodeling adds value to your home. Be sure you have the best contractor for the job.

Finding a home builder for a renovation project, addition or new home is one of the biggest decisions a homeowner will make. But deciding which one to hire can seem overwhelming. Getting to know the builders in your area will help you learn more about their quality of work, design skills and cost, and will make that decision easier.

Who are the builders in your community?

The best way to become familiar with local builders is to look at newly constructed homes for sale. Read the real estate listings online or in the local paper. Go to open houses of newly constructed homes to get a look at their work. Talk to a real estate agent for names of reputable builders. Of course, word of mouth from trusted friends and relatives is a great way to get names, too.

The New Hampshire Home Builders Association is another great resource. They can provide you with a list of home builders who work in your area.

Talk to people who live in the builder’s homes

Once you’ve found a builder you like, drive by a few homes or subdivisions the builder has constructed. Do you like the look and usability of the home. Are there unique features you like? Do the materials look high-quality?

Scheduling a drive on a Saturday morning when homeowners are out enjoying their yards or doing home projects gives you the opportunity to talk with them. If you’re feeling outgoing, introduce yourself and let the owner know you are considering hiring the builder of their home. Ask them if they like their home, what they’d change, and if they’d hire the builder again. People are usually flattered when you tell them you like their home and are eager to give advice.

Whether you talk to homeowners or not, make sure to carry a notebook in the car. Jot down observations and any questions that come to mind. Take the notebook with you when you meet with the potential builder so you can talk more about the homes you liked.

Ask lots of questions about the design-build process

Once you’ve selected a builder, contact their offices and let them know you’d like to ask them a few questions. Whether you talk directly to the builder or to a member of the sales team, they should be happy to answer any question you might have about the project and the process. Here is a list of questions you will likely want to ask a builder before hiring:

  •   What is your fee structure and what is your required deposit?
  • How long will our project take?
  • How often will you communicate with us about the status of the project and any setbacks?
  • Do you have any references of recent buyers or occupants?
  • Do you have a financing plan available?
  • How much "customizing" can be done versus standard features?
  • Are there options in set floor plan? Can a basement or deck be added?
  • Can appliances be up- or down-graded?
  • If moving into a subdivision, will there be a homeowner’s association or added fees for maintenance?
  • What local permits or building permit fees are required?
  • What are the property taxes in the town or will the renovation affect my property taxes?
  • Do you offer a warranty program?
  • Does the price include landscaping? What if the plants die within a year?
  • Are there any restrictive covenants that could impact the project?
  • If it’s a new home, are there any major development plans for the area in the next five years?

Reaching out to your local builder


Dube Plus manages all aspects of home construction, from new home construction to repairs and home improvement. Our licensed, insured and professional staff will work with you from planning and scheduling to the finishing touches. Contact us today and we can answer all of your home building questions. 

Building a new home can be a joyous or difficult experience. Choose a design-builder that has a proven process in place and more than 26 years experience. Choose Dube Plus.