Design Build Houston Offering Alternative Building Delivery

09:43 Sep 2023
Design Build Houston

Houston general contractors are adopting the design build construction delivery method because it has greater value to the owner then alternative methods for designing for and delivering building construction.

Design build Houston is fast becoming the method of preference for owners and contractors, a sharp contrast to what was earlier considered only an alternative method.

So, what makes this process so popular with builders and owners as the preferred design and construction delivery method?

The design build Houston approach is an efficient, streamlined, and quick way of developing and building both commercial and residential properties.

It is a comprehensive design and construction procedure involving a host of activities, such as designing, doing due diligence, estimating cost, financial management, selecting materials, and executing construction.

Learn about the alternative building delivery method of design to build Houston

You may view our design build process infographic for a graphic presentation of the process and benefits.

Design Build Houston

What is design build contracting?

Design build contracting is a design and construction delivery process that is defined by the owner directly hiring a general contractor to facilitate both the design and construction for property improvements.

The general contractor takes the owner through the entire construction journey, right from preparing building documents of the property to its final completion.

As opposed to the traditional method of construction where designing and construction are supposedly independent activities, the design build Houston method unites and fosters collaboration among the project stakeholders to achieve a shared goal of successful completion of building the property.

The owner will hire a general contractor as a single point of contact who, in turn, hires the architect, structural engineers, and other stakeholders, on behalf of the owner. This leads to lower project costs and shorter schedules.  

Design build Houston method focuses on sharing knowledge and expertise, while reducing risks.

As the name suggests, the process involves both designing and building the property by a single entity, usually the general contractor.

Here, the onus of preparing the designing and executing it on the ground is based on the vision of the property owner lays with the hired project team.

It is a collaborative effort where everyone in the team works in synchrony to complete the owner’s construction goals.

Even a recent study conducted by the Construction Industry Institute found that this process approach to be speedier and less risk-prone and costly than other methods.

This efficient model is less stressful for the project owner and reduces potential legal burdens and administrative tasks.

Interestingly, by shifting a raft of tasks, namely, paperwork, managing contracts, coordination, etc., to the general contractor, the owner does not lose control over the project.

Instead, the time and resources of the owner are freed up, so that he or she can concentrate on more pressing aspects of the project.

What are the benefits of a design build construction model?

 The design build Houston construction process offers a plethora of benefits to the project owner.

  • The contractor is accountable for the success of the designing and construction responsibilities,
  • The designing process is facilitated with the concept budget in mind,
  • There are fewer design errors and omissions due to the collaborative process,
  • The designing is vetted by the contractor thereby removing any potential bottlenecks later,
  • Less time is needed to complete the entire project,
  • The owner receives a professional adviser to guide him or her during the entire construction journey,
  • Allows better project continuity and lowers the overall cost of designing and building,
  • Allows value engineering to reduce the cost of construction into the architectural process,
  • Facilitates early construction of the property,

Design Build Houston Commercial Build Out

What are the steps of a design build process?

The design build process comprises several steps, which mostly occur sequentially but are not divorced from each other.

In fact, there may be an overlap of certain steps depending on the type of the project. Let us discuss the steps in detail.

You may read our blog on the benefits of the pre-construction process to understand how this process can incorporate the same.

Team Selection

At the outset, the owner goes about choosing the firms comprising the general contractor, architect, and engineer that will form part of the project team.

The owner can either select one firm in the beginning and let it choose the other members of the team or select all members of the team.

However, once the members of the team are chosen, the owner selects a member as a single point of contact and responsibility.

The owner and general contractor enter into a contractual agreement to form a project development team.

This would mean a shared vision for the whole team rather than of an individual member.

For instance, the architect or engineer will no longer limit himself or herself to the task of preparing the structural / design documents but will see to it that the designing is implemented well on the ground at every stage of the construction process on behalf of the general contractor.

Simply put, it is all about looking at the overall success of the project rather than of just one area.

Project Planning

After the project team is ready, the next stage is planning. Here, the owner, instead of coordinating with every member of the team, shall allow the general contractor to be the single point of contact in facilitating the designing process.

Thereafter, it is the general contractor who would take charge of the entire project on behalf of the owner and manage the show.

This builder shall conduct due diligence in selecting the lot, prepare the preliminary budget, contribute to the designing process, finalize the overall budget, and assist in securing finances from the bank or a financial institution – all in concurrence with the project owner.

The general contractor reviews the deed restrictions of the property to check for architectural compliance and the property survey to know the setback limitations and easement.

These are required tasks to properly position the home on the building lot. With the home site selected, a preliminary site plan and conceptual design criteria developed, the general contractor can prepare a financial feasibility study for the project.

The Houston general contractor would also help in preparing preliminary drawings, scheduling, and cost analyses.

Design Build Houston Residential

Design Consultation

This phase includes discussions on whether the proposed architectural style of the project aligns with the architectural styles intended by the owner as well as that of the neighborhood.

After considering this, the Houston general contractor evaluates the potential of the proposed architectural style.

At this stage, the owner may propose the incorporation of certain features into the architecture, which the builder needs to vet for feasibility.

Once the preliminary drawings match the overall vision of the project owner, the architect gets on with designing the plan.

However, since everyone works in a team, the architect gets additional inputs from the builder, engineer, or any specialty subcontractor.

This reduces the risk of any constructability or change order issues during the actual construction, and leads to more accurate drawings.

Consequently, the owner can move forward without having concerns about design errors or omissions. It also removes the risk of hiring an architect who would end up over designing more than 25% above the initial bid.

Design Process

The project team shall provide the goals, priorities, and timelines for the property build. The goals may include conceptual drawings reflecting the photos, ideas, and a wish list of architectural and interior decorating features.

The builder shall oversee whether the goals of the design team are accomplished within the scheduled time and any cost-related information is communicated to the owner and updated upon his or her concurrence.

The project team develops detailed drawings reflecting the standards of construction, quality specifications, and owner’s preferences.

 Also, based on the design flow, the plan is submitted to obtain the requisite permits, order items with long lead time, order utilities, and complete the initial preparations.

To avoid interruptions during construction, any critical path products or materials should be ordered beforehand and procured ahead of the building schedule.

Besides, vendor shop drawings for special products that are to be fabricated off-site and installed on-site are readied.

The general contracting fixed price is secured for owner knowing that he will not be responsible for drawing errors or omissions in the building documents.

This assures the project owner that the cost won’t climb above the specific price unless he makes changes during construction.

And should that happen, the responsibility to pay the additional amount shall lie with the owner and not the Houston general contractor.


Once the construction documents and the selection of subcontractors, suppliers, and vendors are finalized and all labor, materials, and equipment are assembled at the site, the actual construction begins.

Given that the entire project rests on collaboration between various stakeholders, the process is expected to run more smoothly and within timelines.

However, should there be unforeseen challenges, the project team shall have the necessary bandwidth, understanding, and expertise to address them.

The success of the property’s construction relies upon the building documents, the project management skills of the general contractor and fluid communication between owner and the project team.

If the project team has done their job and the owner has been decisive in their decision making the building project will normally yield the desired results.


The delivery build construction process is finding acceptance among owners and Houston general contractors for the slew of benefits it offers.

The flexibility and collaborative approach associated with this process make it seamless, quick, cost-effective, and without any quality-related challenges.

Houston general contractors are held to a higher standard than general bidding contractors because they are responsible for every aspect of the overall designing and construction activities.

To learn more about remodeling or new construction benefits of this method, visit our link for design build Houston.

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