Historically, architects were intimately involved in the execution of their designs. The great Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi was said to sit under an umbrella at the construction site, refining and clarifying his drawings, and handing them to the craftsmen as they worked. “Design Build” recaptures the intimacy of that process. Different from the now-accepted separation of architect and contractor, Design Build is a seamless, natural process, which minimizes miscommunication between the parties and does away with many of the conflicts of interest inherent in the separated method. We feel that it “puts everyone on the same side of the table” – owner, developer, designer and builder.
The design process includes pre-design, schematic design, design development, and construction documentation. Construction management covers everything from cost estimating, bidding and awarding of contracts, to critical-path scheduling, purchasing, day-to-day on-site supervision, and regular monitoring of the project budget.
In our practice, construction management enters the process from the outset, informing the design in a variety of ways. We consider not just how it will look as a finished product, but how the building will be assembled, and how the project will be staged. We call this “economies of assembly” and it is often overlooked in conventional approaches to the design and construction of buildings. We also consult with our contractors at various stages of design, and we develop a line-item estimate while the design is still in the development stage. Thus we maintain a constant dialogue between the design and the budget.
The design process, in turn, continues into construction, allowing for design refinements as project develops and matures. With Design Build, such refinements are easier to implement, avoiding cumbersome, and often redundant, paperwork. Moreover, the designer’s intimacy with the conceptual underpinnings is present throughout the construction, and insures that the integrity of the design is maintained throughout. Construction is elevated to a process no less creative and compelling than design.
Using the same firm for design and construction is also advantageous in getting the project completed on time and on budget. We attribute this to the fact that all phases of a project are housed under one roof.