Will the Rise of Design/Build Construction Destroy the Residential Market?

by Carson BuckMay 22, 2017

The Pros and Cons of Design/Build Construction

The design/build construction industry has been around for thousands of years, but recently it has become a hot topic in the real estate field because it is has experienced a significant upswing in popularity in the past few years. Despite the relatively young age of this building concept, many of today’s home buyers aren’t yet familiar with it.

Here, we take a look at what the design/build construction industry is, its advantages and disadvantages, and what its rise in popularity means to the modern residential real estate market.

What Is Design/Build Construction?

The design/build construction method relies on a master builder who not only builds the home, but designs it as well. The builder has sole responsibility over every aspect of the build. This is rather different from the more commonly used design/bid/build concept, which involves certain aspects of the project being bid on by various contractors and subcontractors.

The design/build concept might only now be gaining notoriety, but it is a building process that has been used as far back as the great pyramids of Egypt. Today, it is gaining popularity because for many, it is believed to offer a more affordable and efficient way of designing and building a home.

Advantages of Design/Build

Design/build construction offers buyers five key advantages. These include:

  1. A Single Responsible Party – This building method incorporates architecture, engineering, and construction under one single contract. Because one firm is fully responsible for absolutely everything, this maximizes the firm’s attention and dedication to your project. It also strengthens the buyer’s level of control because their financial risk is reduced.
  2. Accurate, Guaranteed Costs – Since one firm is performing every phase of the build, it is much more capable of providing accurate, guaranteed cost estimations. Surprise costs are an unfortunate side effect that buyers have to contend with when working with a wide variety of subcontractors, so eliminating this factor helps keep the project more cost-transparent.
  3. Engineering Value – With the architects, engineers, and builders all under one roof, it allows for each component to bring their expertise to the project more efficiently. These professionals are able to investigate alternative materials and systems together to help maximize the home’s lifecycle/cost ratio.
  4. Shorter Build Times – Design/build projects are constructed at least 12% faster than homes that are built using the design/bid/build process, with delivery occurring 33% faster. This is possible because design/build eliminates all of the time associated with bidding periods and redesign issues.
  5. Greater Build Quality – In a design/build project, all of the team members are on board and in sync whereas with a design/bid/build project, there are often conflicts of interest and sometimes even arguments between architects and contractors. The result is a finished home that’s of better quality and a less stressful experience for the buyer.


Disadvantages of Design/Build

Of course, not everyone is supportive of the design/build concept. Many believe that with this type of project, the contractor has the greatest control and a much bigger say in issues related to cost, profits, and time, leaving the buyer without as much control.

With design/build, the designers are directly associated with the contractor’s interests, so many believe that the designer/architect won’t push the envelope in terms of innovation just so the contractor can achieve a quicker, easier build. Plus, with bidding removed from the process, it essentially leaves the builder setting the price with no negotiation available.

Despite the pros and cons of design/build construction, the trend is gaining in intensity thanks to one key factor – it allows projects to get built faster than any other method, because the design and construction process can overlap each other.

Time is saved, and the buyer can move into their new home earlier. Our society is fast-paced and patience is not something that is abundantly practiced. Design/build more than any other method offers as much instant gratification as is possible in the modern residential market.


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About The Author
Carson Buck
Carson is a real estate agent based out of Phoenix, Arizona. Carson loves data and market research, and how readily available it is in today's world. He is passionate about interpreting these insights to help his clients find and buy their perfect home. Carson got into the real estate industry because he loves the feeling of handing over the keys to a new home to happy clients. In his free time, he works on his backyard bonsai garden and spends time with his wife, Julia.