Why should I hire a Design Build Firm over a General Contractor?

Interior of a modern home with floating staircase, updated doors, hardwood floors, and several windows

We are often asked to explain the difference between a Design-Build firm and a General Contractor so here goes. A design-build firm such as Metke Remodeling employs a full-time design team who handles conceptual design options, construction drawings, and product/finish selections to finalize drawings and commence with permitting for construction.

After viewing the job site and discussing the project scope with the homeowner, a retainer for starting the design and budgeting process is collected and a thoughtfully prepared set of plans is created in tandem with obtaining the costs associated to build that project. This is followed by a review of the design concept and project costs with the homeowner. These plans may be further re-vamped until the homeowner agrees with the design plan and project costs they have been presented.

Once the contract is signed, the project is turned over to the team’s Project Managers and lead carpenters to begin construction for their home remodel. That is what defines a design-build firm. The big benefit to the client is the project is imagined, designed, and completed with the budget in mind. If you start with the budget, and create a design and specify materials that meet the budget, it is a lot easier than trying to fit the real cost numbers into an already designed project.

A general contractor is not the same as a design-build firm that is staffed with a design team, builders, and carpenters.  A general contractor only concentrates on construction, working on plans and designs already created by outside designers, normally hired by the clients.  A general contractor is only responsible for construction, often subcontracting all of the work to outside subcontractors, and will often provide a “bid” for your project that is based on preliminary or final designs and specifications.

If you do not have a complete design with full specifications and structural engineering, and if the contractor has not measured every square inch of the potential remodel space, then there is no way to determine how much labor or materials will be required to perform your project and the final contract price will generally be more than expected.

There are thousands of small details that are part of a remodel. When all those details are handled under one roof the result is a better-managed project with less room for error, both physically and fiscally.