To answer this in simple terms, a Design Build Renovation Team should reflect the magnitude of the proposed project and the needs of the homeowner. What this means is that each project has a core purpose, albeit expanding the envelope of the home or updating the component products or maybe a refreshing new decorating look for your home. The center piece of your design team is dictated by its driving purpose.
Architects / (Home Designers) , Interior Designers, Landscape Architects and General Contractors are the typical professions required for a comprehensive team approach for major restoration projects. All 5 of these specialty professions have a place in the renovation process. The question is what is right for you?
Interior Designers (Decorators) are great with furniture, fabrics and color. This is what they do. If this is a skill set that you do not possess, then having a Decorator as part of your team could provide some stunning results. The size of the renovation will determine what and how much of role the Decorator will play in the overall project. If the purpose of your remodeling project is a fresh new look, this may be the way to go.
If your project also impacts furniture, an interior designer can bring economic value to your project through their purchasing discounts and their specialty vendors such as furniture fabric recovering, furniture fabricators and drapery contractors.
Home Designers are great for homeowners that are having issues with space and finished products. Designers are very useful in providing as built drawings of existing floor plans and drawing up plans for taking bids. Most good designers will introduce you to new products and trending design ideas. We have found that most designers are not the most appropriate professional for a major renovation that may affect the structure. Most designers are not required to be licensed, but are a good fit for developing plans for smaller projects with quick turnaround.
Designers can be very effective in the design build role by developing designs that reflect the owners lifestyle needs and capturing them in drawings. The better designers have the talent for space relationships and visionalizing a finish product. When this skill is matched with the ability to reproduce drawings with these visions, the end result for the client is the realization of their dream.
Architects are licensed professionals that not only offer design guidance but will possess the training and ability to determine the impact of home modifications on the overall structure of the home. They are well suited for a major renovation that requires adjustments to foundations and roof lines or the moving of load bearing walls to create open space areas.
Architects as a rule are very important during structural remodeling or a historical restoration project. They will place hours of research into the origins of design to capture the essence of ornate details that will impact the flavor of the project theme. The true indication of great design in a renovation other then the relationship of function and aesthetics is continuity. Does the added structure and redesigned space look like it was created for its intended purpose. The very good ones make it look easy.
General Contractors are not required to be licensed in Texas, but are in many states. General contractor in Houston is a professional facilitator, which will provide a homeowner all the required services (one stop shopping) needed for a project of any size. That is because they are required for most renovation projects to apply for a building permit and required to meet compliance inspections by the local municipality. One of the requirements for most significant projects is to provide detail drawings with the application for the building permit.
An additional advantage of using the GC as the center piece of your design build project is that the GC can provide budgetary assurances throughout the design process as a means of avoiding any unpleasant financial surprises at the end of the design process. Working with the GC during the design process also allows time for the owner to determine if the GC will be a good fit as a working partner during construction.
The greatest advantage to a homeowner for using a general contractor is that the GC is fully responsible and accountable for both design and construction. This serves as a effective solution to homeowners getting caught in the middle of disputes between uncooperative professional advisers or professionals determining who is responsible for design errors.
The Design Build process benefits far outweigh the possible disadvantages when undertaking a comprehensive major renovation project. As discussed, the leadership of the project should be a function of the project purpose and magnitude.