Get To Know Our Process For Design-Build Construction

Did you know that The Livery is being designed and constructed using a Design-Build project delivery method? To be honest, I had never heard of the Design-Build method when I first joined The Beale Group family of companies back in 2017, but now that I’m aware of its existence, I can’t imagine doing construction projects any other way! Allow me to explain…


In a traditional method (Design-Bid-Build), the process is separate and linear. A homeowner or business owner has a project in mind. She hires an architect to develop the design and produce construction drawings in order to get a building permit. Along the way, she may be surprised to find out that she needs to hire separate outside third parties – engineers, energy consultants, septic consultants, land surveyors – just to get a full set of plans to obtain a building permit. The architect does their work, then it goes to the engineer to react. If changes are needed, the plans go back to the architect for revisions. Same with the other third parties – each one is reacting separately to the others’ work – their reactions impacting the project as a whole which often results in unforeseen additional fees for revisions plus additional time.


Once the construction drawings are complete and the project is permitted, the drawings are then sent out to multiple general contractors for competitive bids. It is only then that the homeowner or business owner gets feedback on the cost of construction. Let’s face it – many projects stall out at this point due to sticker shock. Unfortunately, the architect and other third parties may be required to make changes to the drawings if value engineering is desired, bringing the cost of the design up even further and adding even more additional time.


Another drawback to the Design-Bid-Build method is that the homeowner/business owner is working with multiple separate entities with no single responsible party. When something goes wrong, separate parties may point fingers at each other, and, unfortunately, it can get very messy very fast.


In a Design-Build method, the process is much more integrated and streamlined. A homeowner or business owner has a project in mind. She hires a Design-Build firm to design and build her project – and that firm is the single responsible party for the project. The Design-Builder’s first step is to identify her goals and do the work to determine the feasibility of the project. They research the property thoroughly to determine obstacles and opportunities due to zoning, setbacks, existing septic and well conditions, prior permitting history and other factors. In-house and third-party engineers, energy consultants, septic consultants, soils engineers, land surveyors, etc. are all part of the cohesive team and managed by the Design-Builder. Because design and construction acts as a unified team, all parties are engaged and collaborating with their client and each other from the very beginning, allowing for greater efficiency. It also allows for the construction team to give design feedback and provide budgetary information very early on – shortly after the feasibility and schematic design phases are complete. Since it is so early in the process, if the initial budget numbers are high, it is very easy to make changes to bring the costs down prior to moving into the Design Development and Construction Drawings phases. Once the construction drawings are complete and the permit is acquired, the Design-Builder can get right to work on the construction.


The Design-Build method requires high levels of trust between the homeowner/business owner and the Design-Builder. Building and maintaining that level of trust often pays off in less cost, less time and better outcomes than a traditional Design-Bid-Build method.


If you are considering a large remodel, addition or ground up construction project and want to explore the Design-Build method, please feel free to contact Builders’ Studio of Sebastopol & Thrive Construction Group at 707-827-9600. Not only are they the Design-Build team on The Livery Project, they also design and construct residential projects throughout Sonoma County.