The Design-Build Process – What exactly is “Design-Build?”

Design-build is type of service some professional contractors provide where the design and construction of your project is done with one company as a seamless process from A to Z. The client’s budget is respected throughout the process and the final price is negotiated to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. The design contract is often a separate one from the building contract. Some contractors allow you to take the plans and have another contractor build them once the design phase is done, but most do not. Usually it is not needed because the parties know and trust each other very well after working closely together on the design work. The following outline will walk you through the sequential steps in typical design-build process on a larger project, with an architect involved. We work with an architect we like for our more complex jobs, but do the design work on simpler jobs, like baths, kitchens and simple room additions in house. The steps mentioning the architect would be excluded if Legal Eagle Contractors, Co. was doing the plans in-house.

The Design-Build Process: Sequence of Events

Initial Meeting

  1. Client-Contractor Interview
    1. Contractor qualifications
    2. Client Background Information
  2. Project Overview by Priority
  3. Budget Discussion vs. General Costs vs. Value
  4. Discussion on Design-Build Process
  5. Design Choices and Costs of Services
    1. Architect: Preliminary Design = 2 1/2% of cost of project
    2. Construction Drawings + 2 1/2% of cost of project
    3. Designer: Fees range from $1,000 and up
    4. Design by Contractor: Small projects only-Fee ranges from $500.00 up
  6. Interior Decorator Services/Fees
  7. Industry Standards (Residential Construction Performance Guidelines)
  8. Client Living Requirements during Construction

Design Meeting

  1. Introduction and Qualifications of Architect or Designer
  2. Discuss Project Overview and Budget
  3. Discuss Project Priorities and Special Interests
  4. Discuss Fees and Design Agreement

Design Agreement Meeting

  1. Read, discuss, and sign Design Agreement
  2. Establish Design Program with Architect

Field Measurement Meeting

  1. Field measure home for Preliminary Drawings
  2. Determine requirement for new Survey of Lot

Preliminary Design Drawing Submission to Client

  1. Architect, Contractor, Client Review plans

Prepare and Submit Preliminary Design Cost Estimate

  1. Obtain estimates from major subcontractors on design
  2. Discuss preliminary costs on project and compare to budget
  3. Make required changes
  4. Discuss Allowances and provide Client with Product Selection Guide

Prepare Construction Drawings

A. Client begins to make Product Selections

1. Help in selections of products and finishes can be provided by:
– Architect
– Designer
– Interior Decorator Services

Prepare and Submit Final Project Bid

  1. Major Subcontractors provide final bids based on final drawings
  2. Determine Final Cost on Product Allowances or Selections
  3. Review Drawings and Costs with Client
  4. Review and Finalize Scope of Work Narrative

Financing Procedures

  1. Loan Application
    1. A 12-day Rule applies from date of loan application until Contractors contract can be signed
    2. Submit bid and drawings to Lender (Appraisal may be required)
  2. Loan Approval
  3. 1. Set appointment for closing of loan and signing of Contractor Contract.
    NOTE: Work may not start until three (3) days after loan is signed.
  4. Submit Disclosure Statement to Client for Signature

Contract and Loan Completion

  1. Loan and the Contractor’s Contract must be signed at the bank of financial       institution
  2. Contractor will submit Vendor and Subcontractor lists for project
  3. Obtain mobilization check – 10%

Apply for Permit  

  1. Product Selection Guide must be completed

Preconstruction Conference

  1. Introduction of Project Manager & review order of events.
  2. Discuss where we start and the proposed schedule for first 2-3 weeks.
  3. Review a number of key issues on our Pre-construction Checklist (see       sample copy below)

Start Site Preparation and Demolition (minimum 3-days after loan approval/contract signing) After Work Begins, at end of first week, submit First Progress Payment (”Draw”) and Obtain Payment  Progress Payments Every 2 weeks After That


Sample Pre-Construction Checklist:



OWNER(S): ________________________ DATE: ________________

ADDRESS: _______________________________________________

ATTENDING for LEGAL EAGLE________________________________________


– Security & Access issues  – lockbox location.
– Construction Schedule – what activities to expect for the first 2-3 weeks.
– Additional Work Requests policy and procedures.
– Communication: What to do if problems arise
Production Issues ~ Call our Project Manager Enrique Sifuentes.
Office/paperwork issues ~ Call: Dan at 281-546-2387, mobile.
– Designate an area on job for a Message Center.
– Contract specifications and Drawings, if required.  Oral vs. Written.
– Location for material storage: ______________  Trash location:______________
– Access location to job: ___________________  Lock box key given?: __________ – Owner’s bathroom available for use: _______________
– Owner’s telephone available for use: _______________
– Progress payment procedures.
– Estimated starting date: _________________  Estimated duration: ____________
– Substantial Completion Punch List and “walk-through” meeting at end of   project.
– Yard sign to remain during construction.
– Lead Disclosure Pamphlet  Delivered? ___ Y ___ N
Texas Disclosure statement? ___ Y ___ N.

OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES: – Keep alarm system off during the day.
– Keep children and pets clear of the construction area. Be advised: It is a   dangerous place.
– Have all selections made for paint, tile, flooring etc. before work begins.
– Have all fixtures and appliances on site before work begins or when Project Manager states.
– Remove and reset all wall hangings, furniture, computers & valuables in   areas surrounding remodeling work.
– Empty cabinets and clear countertops if applicable.
– Remove any shrubbery, flowers, etc that you want to save (room addition   Projects).
– Dust is inevitable – please cover belongings with plastic, move computers,   close doors to other rooms, and vacuum more often to help control dust from   spreading.
– Clear traffic areas to allow access to work areas for tools, materials and   construction activities.
– Material selections still to be finalized: _____________________________
OTHER ITEMS DISCUSSED AT MEETING: ____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ _______________ CONTRACTOR: Legal Eagle Contractors, Co

OWNER _____________________________________________________
OWNER _____________________                          by: ____________________
DATE                                                                                        DATE


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