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Building Your Collaboration Team

There are 3 key factors associated with hiring professionals, i.e. architect, general contractor and
decorator: a) vetting their qualifications, b) determining if they understand and can produce your
vision and c) concluding that you trust them and will enjoy working with them. You will be
spending a great deal of time interacting with this team, so it is vital that these key factors are in
place so that the process will be positive experience.

Building your Design and Construction Team is one of the challenging parts of the building process.
There are many different ways to go about this task. Conventional wisdom is that you hire an
architect to draw your plans and then have a general contractor bid the plans. This method often
turns out poorly for the owner. A home project budgeted for $1.5M can result in bids that will come
in at $2M. This leaves the homeowner squarely in the middle, requiring them to redesign or expand
their budget. It also is common for a complicated design to have functionality flaws built in to the
plans that were overlooked during plan review. This will likely cost the owner additional expenses
associated with correcting the issue. Again, this leaves the homeowner regretful and frustrated
with the outcome. These are common occurrences when the homeowner does not employ a
Collaborating Design Team build concept.

A Collaborating Team concept (also known as a Design Build Team) is when the homeowner hires
an architect, a general contractor and even an interior designer to function as a working design
team, collaborating for a common goal. It is not critical which professional leads this process, but
commonly owners choose the General Contractor (GC). What is critical is that there is a
professional working relationship between all members of the team. The homeowner, when
interviewing their chosen professionals, must carefully determine that they trust and enjoy
working with each professional, and that the professionals will work well together in the best
interest of the project. Know that professionals are artist, have emotions, and their egos need to be
checked at the door when collaborating for a common goal.

The benefits of employing a Design Build process are most notably that the owner remains involved
and in control of the entire process. The owner typically contracts directly with the General
Contractor, who in turn contracts with the Architect, and if required, the Interior Decorator. This
method of design contracting will save time by the continual estimating and budget confirmation
that are ongoing during the entire process. This reduces the budget busting surprises and ill will
that goes with that result. There are estimating exercises at each stage of design, which leads to
another advantage: more accurate cost estimating. The process and financial assurances allows
the owner to reduce the amount of time the traditional design process takes, and allows the GC to
move much faster toward permitting and starting construction.

Another advantage of the Design Build Method of design is that it ultimately reduces the number of
Change Orders experienced through the process. This is principally due to the accountability of           


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