Design/Building Your Business’ Future
Part One: Who Makes Up The Project Team?

Shawn McCadden Interview


Shawn McCadden is a leading remodeling industry expert on the topic of Design/Build.  He was the owner of his own multi-million-dollar design/build remodeling business; Custom Contracting, Inc., in Arlington, Massachusetts, incorporated in 1991.  Accomplishing his original business goals and his written business plan, his business was employee managed by 1996 and he successfully sold his business in May 2004.

In this two-part article Shawn explains how a true Design/Build process could be used to build or remodel a Design/Build remodeling business.

Article 1 of 2

Design/Building Your Business’ Future

Article 1 of 2

Who Makes Up The Project Team?

Design Build TeamMany in our industry have come to believe that design/build is the best way to qualify, design and build a project. The design/build process, when performed well, provides countless benefits for all three parties involved: the owner, the builder and the designer. All three parties work together as a team, sharing their knowledge, skills and experience to create a mutually beneficial solution. This solution is not possible if any of the three parties don’t involve themselves or prefer to work separately.  If this process works so well for a building or remodeling project, why not consider the process for building or remodeling your Design/Build Company?  Let’s look at the parallel considerations.

The Business Owner's Purpose Must Be Clarified

Design Build Business OwnerFirst of all, as with any construction project, there is or will be an owner. The owner may be someone who needs to build or remodel his or her business to cause a specific result or effect. An example might be the need to create more family time or recreational time for the business owner and or management employees as a way to reduce stress. Or perhaps the desire is to create a business with an exit strategy that ultimately serves the business, the current owner and even the future owner. As is true with any construction project, the owner can have one or many reasons for building or remodeling a business. But, just like a design/build project, before we decide to accept the project we should ensure that the owner is qualified. Are the owner’s expectations realistic?  Does the owner have an adequate budget for the project, and if not, can he or she obtain financing?  Can the owner make confident decisions and will he or she stick to them?  Once the project begins, what will it be like to work with the owner?  Are you beginning to see the parallels?

The Designer Must Be Adequately Qualified For The Project

Design Build Business PlanSecond, there must be a designer. This could be the owner of the business, a business coach or a business consultant. Regardless of who does the design work for this new or remodeled business, that person must be qualified for the task at hand. If you, as the business owner, do not have the required skills, insight or experience, make sure that the person you choose to help design this project does.  Don’t hire a software company designer to design a construction company. And, above all, don’t choose a business designer who crashed his or her own business. If, as an owner, you choose to take on the design work yourself, I suggest you design as if you must sell your creation to stock holders. This may automatically help build accountability into your plan.  In fact, some people involved may already think like stock holders, such as your spouse, family and/or employees. Think about your own abilities as a designer.  Even if you are a talented designer, are you really the best designer for the project and or the owner?  Only you can decide because you’re the owner!

Make Sure You Have The Right Team Members For The Build

Design Build Construction teamThe third leg of this three legged stool is the business construction team, comprised of those who will build or remodel this new business. As is the case in the design/build project delivery system, I suggest involving the construction team during the design of this project, rather than be expected to just follow the plan of perhaps an anonymous or ego- driven designer. Take advantage of what your employees may already know to improve or build the business. Just like a design/build project, involving the construction team during the design of a business can reap many benefits. Some of these benefits may include the option that construction can often start before the design is completed; your team will already know what resources you have to build the project and which ones are still needed; and any design changes during construction are easier to identify and solve. In addition, there will likely be fewer communication breakdowns because everyone that participates in creating the design knows why the project is being built. One more benefit for the owner and the construction team typically not found in a design/build construction project: Your construction team has already lived in and experienced the project you are about to remodel or build upon!

Just as we advise prospective and current clients to choose the right team to complete their project, the design/builder should choose the right team for design/building his or her business. As with a design/build project, once we have identified and committed to who will be on the team, the next step is to establish the design and construction process. To do this, we need a plan of action to follow.  In part two of this article we will discuss a plan that you and your team can use to keep the project moving forward towards construction.