Sticker Shock No More!
As one of the partners of my National Builder 20 Group, we often talk about the alliances we are forming with architects and designers, providing integrated design/build services to benefit our mutual clients. It is through this kind of collaboration that our industry is making great strides toward optimizing the product delivery method, making the Design-Bid-Build system more like Design/Build, which we highly advocate!
Interestingly, in custom home designing and building, the designer typically is far removed from the production and delivery of the final product. It is entirely within our grasp, however, to deliver a product to a consumer without a lot of fuss, and with systems in place to make to client experience an enjoyable one. For this to transpire, the product provider (the architect) should integrate every system rather than subject the client to shopping the competitors.
Our National Builder 20 Group meeting took place in Dallas, TX a few months back and the main topic analyzed was the builder- designer alliance. In this meeting a panel of residential architects and custom builders discussed how they handle delivering cost information to the client in the early stages of design and through contract signing. Overall, it was a great discussion, and all of the presenters spoke openly about their processes and encouraged those in attendance to create alliances with each other in the early stages of design.
We discussed the traditional methodology of Design-Bid-Build and had a very candid conversation about sticker shock at about every turn; at the time of preliminary cost, then again at final cost; during construction when allowances are insufficient and when change orders are required because design issues are not resolved; and finally at completion when final change orders are presented. The presenters emphasized the virtues of selecting a builder before preliminary design or having the client pay professional fees for preliminary costing.
Unfortunately, many design-only firms are unwilling to deal with cost issues, particularly early on, to secure a commission. It is these firms that too frequently end up with a collection of plans on their shelves that never get built, and are a big part of the reason custom designing and building has such a bad reputation. It is no wonder that consumers can be fearful and distrusting of architects and builders.
Imagine a world of clients architects, builders and interior designers where the client calls and in that first conversation can get all the information about cost- not in a price per square foot, but in a lump sum dollar figure- to make an informed decision. And what if the company, once hired, is committed to verifying that budget against the preliminary plan and updating the cost with each plan update?
In this world the word allowance does not exist; all selections are included in the cost and design development and the original budget is a reflection of the final construction price. There are no surprises, and because plans are so well designed and detailed there is no finger pointing, and inconsistencies between design and construction are handled internally without financial consequence to the client.
That world is ours and one of a well-organized Design/Build company that takes responsibility to the client for the final design, performance, and cost of the product. It is fully achievable and when the entire industry is able to take grasp of this level of service, then building a home may not seem as daunting as you hear stories about!
Diamante Custom Homes
5139 N. Loop 1604 West, Suite 102
San Antonio, TX 78249
(210) 341-6430 - phone
(210) 568-4514 - fax
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
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