Planning is one very important aspect that should not be taken for granted if you plan to build your home or plan to make renovations of an existing one. Assuming you already have a lot, or a unit, in case of renovations or house expansion, your planning starts at envisioning what you want to build. It is at this stage that you choose who will prepare the working drawings for your project. Working drawings or blueprints not only serve as guide for the workers but also to comply with the building officials requirements when applying for a construction or building permit. It is better to keep changing the design on paper than to keep changing the actual construction – since the former does not involve any cost.
Getting an architect to prepare your drawings is usually more costly than getting a design build firm since the architect will be focusing on the design only, whereas a design build firm’s design is affected by the target cost of the project. In other words, the design build company will always design based on the projected budget which is usually initially agreed upon. An architect usually prefers to be given freedom in the design and will usually assume that the owner will adjust the budget – especially when he is pleased with the design. Some architects also like to do the construction since it is usually part of the design contract that they also follow thru with the supervision of the project. Some owners also turn to a design build firm for the construction since they know design build firms usually cost lesser, than contractor architects.
When choosing a design build firm, it is important that you like their portfolio since it is their finished product that defines who they are. Choose a contractor whose costing fits your budget. Older and larger contractors are usually costly to engage with since they have a dedicated staff and their reputation allows them to demand higher costing or profits. Smaller contractors usually price lower since they have a smaller staff to keep and have a smaller market share thus every prospect they meet is highly valued thus they tend to go after the project itself, not the profits or how much they make of it.
Finally, project monitoring, reporting, and evaluation is very crucial for small scale projects since the funds are limited thus the profits are also limited so, there is very little margin for order changes. Not like the larger contractors – if the owner doesn’t like what he sees, then it can be easily demolished or changed, but for smaller contractors, every finished product or resource is very valuable. (By Engr. Josifer Bejer)