Design Build Remodeling – Houston Chronicle article

Remodeling, new construction, home improvement, are all terms that can be daunting on any scale.  Most homeowners spend countless hours thinking about, considering and dreaming about their personal remodeling projects.  Sometimes this alone can be an overwhelming thought process with no real idea on where or how to begin. 


Typical questions might be: How do I start?  Who do I talk to?  How do I find a reputable company or contractor?  All of these are extremely important questions with dozens of answers.  A great starting point is the local building association – in this case the GHBA or Greater Houston Builders Association.  This is a great initial stepping stone when looking for the “right fit”.  As a design/build firm, we are used to hearing all the usual questions and fears and helping guide potential clients down the right path.


But just what is the design/build approach and what can it do for you?  In its simplest terms, design/build is a blend of professional design and construction expertise.  One company blends the two elements and provides a one-stop-shop for both the design and the construction, which helps give a better flow of the two disciplines.  The coupling of these can provide savings in both time and money. This can save countless hours on design as well as the cost associated with such a design. Typically speaking, the cost of this design approach can be considerably less.  Design/build can also help to alleviate any issues with construction-related elements such as HVAC, plumbing locations, frame related elements, and how all the moving parts will work together, as well as staying within a proposed budget range.  Budget range? Yes, the budget range!  The nuts and bolts, finishes, and costs are all discussed in detail. 


Design/build typically can help you come up with a valid design and stay within a certain budget range.  The blend mentioned is constantly taking costs and potential selections into account throughout the process.  This helps clients get a level of comfort and budget satisfaction.  Of course, a realistic approach towards needs, wants and wishes comes into play.  Candid conversations and interaction with both construction and design help to mesh the two areas with much less difficulty.


When choosing a design/build firm, the relationship and experience are paramount, with communication being equally as important.  Always make sure there is an element of trust and comfort with the potential firm.  Ask questions.  Ask if they offer 3D modeling, which can be a tremendous help with visualization.  Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know!  There is no shame in not having all the answers, after all, isn’t that why you are interviewing firms in the first place.  So to repeat, make sure there is a level of trust, comfort, and ask questions.  The process is most certainly two-way, and most design firms want and require clients’ involvement.  The process can be trying, but with the right firm, your dream project is not out of reach!