Why Design Build?
There is often a pretty stark difference between the home remodeling industry and the commercial
remodeling industry. The commercial world tends to be full of checks and balances, a significant
amount of upfront coordination to ensure the job goes as smoothly as possible, and much more
interplay between the design elements, the cost of the construction, and the means and methods of
construction. Residential home remodeling, on the other hand, seems to fly by the seat of its pants.
More often than not, there is very little crossover between design, cost, and feasibility, which
creates a plethora of problems, both real and potential. The Design Build approach helps to rectify
As of 2018, the Design Build model accounted for 44% of all construction projects in the United
States, and is anticipated to be 47% by 2025, which is relatively slow organic growth, but it
demonstrates a shift away from the traditional Design-Bid approach and toward the Design Build
approach because of the various benefits of this approach. So what are those benefits? The
primary benefit is continuity of process. Specifically, this manifests in several different ways, such
as consistent and accurate costs, continuity of design as it relates to cost, and making sure what is
designed can be built in the real world.
Financial accountability is probably not something you hear much about in construction. It’s
almost entirely the opposite really, but taking a design-build approach, when done properly at
least, should help to alleviate this. As a single entity, your design-build firm is accountable for the
entire project, including the quality of the design, how the end result looks, the total costs, and how
quickly construction can be completed. Where our industry tends to fail is maintaining updated
and accurate costs. No one is perfect at this (nor are we), but having a rough understanding of
costs when you go into the project is important. Design needs to be done with the end goal of the
relevant budget in mind. A beautiful design means nothing, if the client can’t afford to actually
build it. To this end, not only do we provide Preliminary Estimates, but we also update the project
along the way while providing clear and transparent allowances for finishes, and even providing
copies of supplier invoices to our clients. There is nothing to hide if you don’t have anything to hide.
Consistent design implementation relates to the previous point in the sense that design needs to
be cost conscious. That doesn’t mean cheap; it means within the clients’ specific budget. Sometimes
that means $5 tile and sometimes $75 tile. Consistent design is also important at the transfer from
office to field. Apart from feasibility, be able to implement in the field what the designer has come
up with is important, which is why designers (in many cases) spend half their time in the field
explaining their vision to contractors. This need not be so. If design and construction are working
hand in hand, the designers understand what information needs to be on the documentation, and
the build side understand the spirit of the design, even if field adjustments are required. With the
team at Truth Design Build, coordination is built into the process by having our building staff
involved in the design meetings after the concept is signed off so that they are in the loop from the
outset. This significantly reduces the amount of hours of “after the fact” design.
While design implementation is as important as understanding the costs, so is feasibility. It’s one
thing to understand the intent of the design, it’s a whole other thing whether the design is possible
to build from a physics perspective (in some cases), and from a code perspective (in other cases).
Having seen designs that didn’t allow for adequate crawl space clearance, or factor in door swings,
or think about HVAC chases, it is important that all such elements be vetted as best as possible to
ensure that the construction goes as smoothly as possible in the field, which helps both budgets
and timelines. Half-hatched design leads to delays, change orders, and over runs, which is why,
again, we take the approach that we do to integrate all of these elements together from the outset.
Where does Truth Design Build fit into this?
So Why Truth Design Build? Where do we fit into this? There are dozens of options for design-build
firms in Denver, so why not someone else? Because while the above points may be obvious to some,
they are still not standard practice. They are standard practice for us because we believe in having
a growth mindset, continually improving, and gaining efficiency through creative thinking and
problem solving. We have monthly professional developments with our team, and are in the process
of implementing Agile Methodology, which is a system of management focused on continued
growth and increasing one’s skillset and competence. So why Truth Design Build? Because we
understand that Design-Build is first and foremost a process-driven approach. Because we are
transparent. Because we care. Because we are committed to excellence, even if imperfectly so.
That’s really all anyone of us can ask of one another.