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  • Writer's pictureStreets & Avenues

Design Build Construction vs Traditional Construction: Which is Right for You?

by Streets & Avenues

June 19th, 2023

Renovating your home can be an exciting but daunting task, especially if you’re not entirely sure where to start. One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is choosing the method of construction you want to use. Traditional construction has been around for centuries, but design-build construction is becoming an increasingly popular alternative. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between design-build construction and traditional construction and help you decide which is right for your home renovation project.

1. The Design-Build Approach:

Design-build construction is an integrated approach that combines the design and construction phases into a single streamlined process. In this method, one company is responsible for the entire project, from concept to completion. This means the design-build firm takes care of every aspect of the renovation, including hiring subcontractors, ensuring compliance with local codes, and managing the timeline and budget. The homeowner deals with one point of contact, simplifying the communication and reducing the risk of miscommunications between various parties involved in the project.

One of the advantages of design-build construction is that it can save you money and time. By having multiple services integrated under one roof, issues can be identified and dealt with more efficiently and quickly. Additionally, a design-build team's in-house nature means that homeowners can expect more cohesive, coherent designs, as all aspects of the renovation are considered together.

2. Traditional Construction:

Traditional construction, on the other hand, is the method of separating the design and construction phases of the renovation process. The homeowner hires an architect to design a plan, then builders are contracted to execute the plan. As these two tasks are separate, it can lead to conflicts in scheduling, design, and scope. The homeowner acts as a mediator between the architect, contractor and any relevant specialists. This fragmentation can often lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and a misaligned budget, resulting in cost overruns and longer timelines than you initially anticipated.

3. Design-Build or Traditional Construction?

Each construction method has pros and cons. Traditional construction is great for homeowners who want a high degree of control and involvement in the renovation process. However, it leads to a fragmented, complex process with greater potential for miscommunications and delays. On the other hand, design-build construction offers streamlined and efficient design and construction with fewer interruptions and less risk of mistakes, making it a great option for homeowners who want the convenience of one point of contact, greater cost control, and faster project delivery.

4. Consider the Nature of Your Project:

When deciding between design-build vs traditional construction, consider the nature of your project. How complex is it? What are your desired outcomes? How do you want to be involved in the process? Major home renovations with a high degree of complexity and uncertainty, like whole-house renovations or additions, tend to benefit from design-build construction. It is also advantageous if you want a faster delivery time and to work with a company that is involved in every phase of the renovation.

5. What are the financial considerations between design/build and regular construction?

The cost of a design-build contractor may be higher initially due to their expertise and all-inclusive approach, but it can save you money in the long run. Since you work with one company rather than several subcontractors, you avoid paying more for multiple bids and management fees. Also, design-build contractors tend to finish projects more efficiently, keeping the schedule and budget on track.

The cost of a renovation project can vary depending on the approach you choose and the size of the project. Although traditional construction may be cost-effective, it is essential to consider the added management and timeline costs associated with working with multiple teams. Design-build contractors can make the process easier to manage, ensure a better quality of work, keep costs competitive, and still provide flexibility. The choice ultimately depends on the homeowner's preference, budget, and goals. As with any home renovation project, it is important to interview several contractors, obtain multiple estimates, references from past clients and build a solid rapport with them before starting the renovation.

6. Flexibility:

Homeowners will want to consider their preferences and needs during renovation projects. Design-build contractors can be more flexible when it comes to customizing your home. This is because designers and builders work in one team, which can be more responsive to changes than having to coordinate with multiple teams. On the other hand, traditional construction may be more challenging to customize as the process involves working with various teams that are less likely to accommodate changes down the road.


Whether you choose design-build construction or traditional construction, remember to find a team that you trust and who listens to your goals for the renovation project. Picking a suitable approach is important, but selecting a firm with whom you can collaborate is even more so. The expertise and experience of a skilled contractor or designer will help you make the best out of your renovation project, whichever approach you select. Think about your priorities, the nature of your project, and the team you'll collaborate with; it will undoubtedly lead to a better renovation experience overall. Do you have any experiences with either approach? Feel free to share in the comments below!



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