design build contracting Toronto

Are Design Build Contractors More Expensive ?

When compared to the design-bid-build method or buying an existing home, employing a design-build contractor is sometimes viewed as being a more expensive option, but that’s not necessarily always the case. 

Traditionally, the construction or remodeling method most prospective homeowners have used over the years has been the design-bid-build option. In this case, an architect is hired to come up with a set of blueprints for a new home. These are then taken to a builder, who may construct the home or subcontract the work. This means the homeowner has to deal with at least two separate contracts and companies, which are the builder and the architect.

In this scenario it’s possible a contractor will come in with a lower bid to win the job. However, they may end up cutting corners to remain within budget or hire lower-paid and quality subcontractors.  

Why Design Build Can Be More Cost Efficient

With the design-build method, the process is simplified and more efficient as the homeowner has just one contract to deal with since the builder, engineer and architect work together under the guidance of the design-build company. This enables them to work side by side every step of the way from the concept and design all the way through the construction of the home, resulting in fewer complications and revisions.

The cost of building or remodeling a home depends on several factors such as its size, the geographic location and the types of materials used etc. However, with the design-bid-build method you also need to pay the architect separately and you may find some architects’ fees could be a percentage of the construction costs. This means if the architect and builder aren’t on the same page the fees could easily rise throughout the building process. 

In some instances and architect’s fees may be based on an hourly rate or even the total square feet of the construction project. Of course, larger projects will inevitably cost more or you could be billed 

approximately $150 per hour or more for their services. With the design-build option though, the architect’s fees will be itemized but incorporated into the project’s overall cost. This typically works out lower than fees based on square footage or an hourly rate. 

Even with a remodeling project, the design-build process might cost more up front but it could be less expensive in the long run. Since the same company is taking care of the design and construction it means they’re inheriting more risk. But it also means change orders aren’t as likely or common as the left hand knows what the right hand is doing at all times and there’s less chance of miscommunication. And as we all know, miscommunication results in time and money and it’s typically the homeowner who pays for it. In addition, a good design-build company will meet with you several times during the design and pricing phase.  

Since experienced contractors are involved in the project right from the design stage it means the costs can be more accurately calculated from the beginning. On the other hand, designers in the design-bid-build method may be way off the mark when it comes to estimating the cost of construction and you could soon be over your budget. If this happens, you’ll need to start the process again and hire an architect to re-design the home to lower the construction costs. 

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Design Build Offers Long Term Cost Savings

In many cases, the design-build option could cost more in the short-term when compared to purchasing an existing home. But a few years down the road you may find yourself remodeling parts of the home such as bathroom or kitchen since it wasn’t custom-built for your specific tastes. With the design-build method you can custom design the dwelling to fit your preferences exactly. This often results in a more energy-efficient home and can result in hundreds or thousands of dollars being saved on annual energy costs.

Also, design-build contractors are typically familiar with current popular construction trends and this could result in the home having a higher resale value since they know what home buyers are looking for. There are a few other intangibles to consider when choosing between the design-build and design-bid-build methods and these include flexibility, reliability, professionalism, warranty and craftsmanship. 

About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a Design Build contracting company that specializes in custom home building and large scale remodeling projects.  We have been providing high end renovation projects i the GTA for over 15 years, contact us today for a free consultation.

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