4 Ways to Win with Design-Build

Why contractor-lead projects succeed

January 2021

Every building project carries with it unique opportunities and challenges. A general contractor’s job is to review the project from a multitude of angles and provide the planning and oversight to ensure the project is successful. They are the ones who provide you with options on how to approach the challenges and opportunities.

A majority of project leaders opt for the traditional design-bid-build route. But with decades of experience in leading construction projects as a GC, Doreen Caudell had this to say: “The most effective approach for completing a construction project is finding the right professional who is familiar with the intricacies of the work involved and a network of trusted professionals to bring opportunity and success. GCs know what’s at stake and often provide a broader view into what talent and resources are needed even in the beginning concept, design, and engineering phases.”

Let’s take a look at a few more reasons why a contractor-led design-build (CLDB) approach is better than an architect-led design-build (ALDB) one:

Taking the Contractor-Led Design-Build (CLDB) Approach

The purpose of highlighting a CLDB approach is not to disregard the efforts put in by the architect but rather make it a more collaborative process where one identifies the limiting factors and innovation opportunities while working together to bring ideas to life.

Ideally, you should involve both partners engaged during the initial stages of the building process, but a GC is ultimately responsible for the execution and success of the project. It requires tremendous skills and expertise to judge and fulfill the requirements of the project. In a design-build project, you benefit from the necessary partners to fulfill all your vision and the confidence that vision will be fulfilled during construction.

During a recent project with the City of Maderia Beach, D-Mar was called upon to help revise the original architectural plans to account for the many complexities found on site. With the location near the water, we had to collaborate with the original architect in order to ensure some of the planned space on the first floor was adequately configured to comply with codes and the natural forces specific to the location.

With an experienced general contractor leading the project, construction managers can mitigate some issues that can arise from designs that are overly ambitious or present major buildability challenges that cause a project to be afflicted with costly changes or even prohibit some elements of the project altogether. By choosing a general contractor to lead your construction project, you will protect both your vision and your investment.

If you’re still on the fence about starting with a general contractor, consider:

1. A Qualified and Experienced General Contractor Can Identify Problems in Design Plans Before You Start Building

If a design-bid-build approach is employed, a major chunk of an architect’s work finishes during the design phase. This puts the burden on GCs to work with what they’ve got and face problems in wiring, support structure, plumbing, and safety as they encounter them. Additionally, it has the potential to derail projects due to miscommunication when going back and forth with design plans.

This is perhaps the biggest reason to choose a general contractor to lead your project. If you have a qualified and experienced GC working with you right from the start, they can help avoid many potential problems when it is most effective and not when it can cause the most problems.

2. Your Project’s Quality and Craftsmanship Depends on the Builder just as much as the Architect

When embarking on a construction project, you want the best craftsmanship and quality to support your vision and goals. Certainly, this will depend on the skills of who you hire, what materials you use, and the amount of money you’re willing to spend. A GC can act as your “Executive Producer” ensuring that the right team is in place and that all members are working collaboratively to support the project.

Each team member brings their individual set of expertise and the GC knows where they are best utilized and what elements are best handled by others. This has the added advantage of cutting down expenses and saves time, as no aspect of the build is left to chance, but rather resources are deployed efficiently and effectively. Considering all this, selecting a general contractor really should be your first priority.

3. Getting the Right General Contractor Involved from the Start is Critical to Accomplish Your Construction Goals

Throughout the construction phase, you can expect a majority of your time is going to be spent with the general contractor to make sure that everything is running smoothly. Often times you’ll need clarification regarding the design plans or have some changes to implement. Involving the right GC from the start can help you establish a relationship with an open channel of communication with a team that has been deeply engaged in the project since its inception. This enables you to trust them with your needs and empower them to make critical decisions on your behalf.

4. Save Money

It is not uncommon for an architecture’s recommendations to be exciting and creative. The architect team is best when they are creating possibilities to support your vision.  Leveraging your general contractor’s experience and expertise during this phase will help you strike that critical balance between excitement and expense.

This is where D-Mar comes in. “We pride ourselves in our focus on cost-efficiency during construction management. We also excel at assembling a quality team of professionals to create, build and manage the project as it were our own,” said Andrew Caudell, D-Mar VP and Director of Engineering.

The Final Word

Extensive planning, scheduling, managing resources, allocating workers, and effective communication are required to define the scope of a construction project. To be successful, this shouldn’t start at pre-construction, but as early in the project as possible. Having the right people by your side who knows how crucial early and frequent collaboration is to the success of a project will only ensure your vision is realized and your investment is protected.

At D-Mar, we are a commercial general contracting company that offers experienced and focused management of construction services from idea to inspection. We can help you accomplish your construction goals and overcome construction challenges through innovative solutions designed to minimize risk and produce exceptional outcomes. You can get more information on the company and its range of solutions by visiting our website or calling on (727) 461-4760.

“Doreen's positive personality and commitment to customer satisfaction is reflected throughout her organization. These attributes have led to a satisfactory experience each time we have engaged her company.”

Richard Demers: Dunkin Donuts’ Franchise

"Doreen is a terrific, motivated highly disciplined lady of the absolute highest integrity. She approaches everything that she does with passion, but also with an enormous heart."

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"It does not get any better!!! When you want the attention and detail that you should have - call D-Mar."

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