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Design Options for Design/Builders: In-House Design

Posted by Shawn McCadden on Tue, Apr 03,2012 @ 05:00 AM

Design Options for Design/Builders: In-House Design

Design options for design build



Design/Build contractors have come to realize the need for and importance of design as it relates to getting and producing the construction of a project. Typically, there are two options for getting the design done; In-house or out-sourced.  This article will discuss in-house design.  In my next blog I will discuss partnering with others to get the design work done.


The Designer Must be Qualified To Do The Job

Choosing the right designer for design buildNot all contractors or homeowners have creative design skills, but most can tell a good design from a bad one.  A drive through your local area may provide a few good examples of projects where the contractor completed the design, but perhaps should have stuck just to the build part.  The project could have met the client’s needs for space or function, but the end result may have been a T-1-11 box added onto a Victorian gem.

The first consideration before offering in-house design services should be an assessment of the designer’s skills and qualifications.  Depending on the type of projects you do or the design expectations of your clients, do you have the experience and skills on staff to complete the required designs and drawings?  Also, consider the legal requirements for the design or designer in the market area you work to be sure your designer and or your business can even offer such services.


In-House Design Considerations

If you are currently doing your design work in-house, or plan to, consider the following before it’s too late:

  • Do you have the time in your schedule to add or keep up with the demand for design, particularly if your business or volume grows?
  • If you bring a designer on staff, will you have enough work to keep him/her busy and productive?  If not, what other skills do they have or what other skills does your business need that this person could bring with them?
  • Are you limiting your client’s projects and design desires to your in-house capabilities and experience?  Will that be a problem?
  • What will happen if you or your only designer is injured or otherwise unavailable to do the design work?
  • If you do not have a professional designation, what will you do if your prospect or client wants the prestige of a professional architect, or the project requires structural engineering? 
  • Even if you plan to do the design work in house, should you find an additional resource or two as back-up to get the design work you need done when you needed it?

If any of the above could affect you or your business in a negative way, partnering with others may be the answer.  Watch for my next blog for some insight on partnering with others to get the design done.

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Topics: Design/Build Process, Plans and Specifications, Design Options, Working with Design Professionals