The evolution of the design and construction industry over the past decades is nothing short of remarkablefrom newly developed materials to advancing technology. 

One such significant development is integrating design and construction into a single process known as Design-Build.

Design-Build in Outdoor Living

Design-build has revolutionized the way we create and construct outdoor living spaces. 

From patios and walkways to driveways, walls, and outdoor fireplaces, unifying the design and construction of these hardscape projects streamlines many of the steps that had to be done separately.

With the advent of design-build, hardscaping has seen a shift in its approach to projects.

Design-Build saves time by combining both the design and construction processes into one seamless interaction. This eliminates the need for multiple vendors and contractors, resulting in a more efficient project timeline.

With its origins 30 years ago, design-build has gained traction to streamline the construction process. 

Organizations to tradeshowsamong them are the Canadian Design-Build Institute, Design-Build Institute of America and DesignBUILD in Australiaare now in place to promote this system to be the primary method of building and project delivery systems in the years to come.

How Design Build Projects Work 

A Design-Build project works by having a single entity – often referred to as the design-builder – assume responsibility for all aspects of the project, from conceptualization and design to construction. 

For example, you’ll have one team of professionals to work with you for your entire project:

Project Specialist who can accurately assess the scope, location and budget of your project from the start. 
Softscape/Hardscape Designers who can customize your project to suit your needs and taste.
Construction Professionals who are highly experienced in the field, and can efficiently build your new space.

Design-Build: Process Simplified

As we said, Design-Build integrates multiple parties into a single entityled by the architect for more specially designed projects or by the contractors and/or designers for renovations and remodelling, even hardscape and softscape projects.

Design-Build Relationship, reference image from ArchToolBox

How to Choose a Design-Builder

Choosing the right design-builder isn’t always easy. Vancouver alone has many to choose from—so how do you know which one is right for your project? Here are a few tips:

1. Experience

Check out their portfolio and past projects they’ve completed. Make sure they have experience dealing with both softscaping and hardscaping.

2. Reputation

Look for customer reviews online, ask for references from past clients, and make sure they are a registered business.

3. Communication and Responsiveness

Pick a design-builder that is responsive and willing to listen to your ideas. They should be able to communicate the progress of your project regularly and clearly.

Navigating Through a One-Stop Shop: Design-Build FAQs

Streamlining the construction process is one of the many advantages of design-build, but it comes with challenges.

“Like any venture, to achieve the desired outcome, consider the complex elements behind it and find a balance on how to achieve it.”  

How should you take on design-build projects? Let’s address some of the concerns involved in taking on such projects.

Who makes the final decisions?

Concern: Design-Build teams involve the designers and contractors, all of whom have a say in the process. Who makes the final decisions? 

Answer: The owner ultimately has the authority to make all of the major decisions. The professionals on your team are there to offer advice and guidance, but the final decision always rests with you. 

Who is the point person—the architect, contractor, or project manager?

Concern: When it comes to keeping the project on track and ensuring that everyone is working together, who should you turn to? 

Answer: The project manager is the point person, who will ensure that all members of the team are on the same page and working together. The project manager also has the ultimate authority on the job site, and all decisions should go through them. 

However, understanding is power. This scheme requires everyone to be in sync. All stakeholders must be on board with the project’s goals and objectives, as well as the timeline. 

Does faster​ completion mean lower quality?

Concern: More often than not, time is any build’s biggest contender. But is the time-saving aspect of a Design-Build project going to compromise quality? 

Answer: Regardless of the scale of the project, whether it is a modest addition to an outdoor patio for spring or a full-scale hardscape renovation, the quality should remain consistent. The time-saving nature of Design-Build does not mean sacrificing quality, but rather streamlining the process so that both are achievable. 

Design-Build Excellence 

Locally and internationally, design-build endeavours have grown into commercial and civic structures. For taking on such a feat and utilizing innovation, the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) began their awards in the late 90s and continues on today. 

Here are some of the successful design-build projects awarded by the DBIA in North America and Canada for their achievements in the last decade: 

Photo courtesy from Royal Alberta Museum’s website.

Photo courtesy from Design-Build Institute of America’s website.

Photo courtesy from Design-Build Institute of America’s website.

The Craft of Collaboration 

Builds and construction projects are multi-faceted undertakings. Compared to the traditional methods, it is easy to see why design-build is becoming a viable option for clients, especially for residential and landscaping projects.

With its unique hurdles, it narrows down multiple disciplines under one roof, maximizing collaboration between the client and the design-construction groups. 

Design-build still has a lot to prove. In the current build and construction landscape, it shows itself as a worthy challenger and game-changer in the industry.

Building trust between clients and the teams is the cornerstone of any successful design-build project. To help you get started on your next design-build project, our team of experts are on standby. Contact us and let’s collaborate!