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Kevin Ahern

By: Kevin Ahern on August 4th, 2016

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Designing Your Home: Design-Build Contractor or Architect?


If you're a property owner, you may have heard the term "design-build" contractor, but not all homeowners know what a design-build contractor is or how it is different from an architect. If you're thinking about building a home or office building in the near future, this information may become very important.

What's the Difference?

A design-build contractor is a licensed entity that oversees the design and construction of a project. If you work with a design build contractor in the construction of your new home, you'll work with one person or one company throughout the entire project, from inception to creation.

By contrast, an architect is a designer. Architects draft blueprints and make plans, but they do not contribute to the construction of a property. Architects are academically trained in engineering, project management and three-dimensional design. They get their education at colleges and universities. Architectural design is typically focused on aesthetics over functionality.

Design-build contractors learn the majority of their trade in the field and through experience. Because they'll be constructing the designs they create, design build architects focus on creating a fully realized design that is aesthetically pleasing as well as functional.

Which One is Better?

The answer to this question is a matter of opinion, so this depends on the needs of the homeowner. Here are a few things to consider when trying to decide:

  • Expense. Architects must be paid separately for their services at an hourly rate. If for some reason an architect's design will not work for the homeowner, either because it proves too expensive to build or for other reasons, the architect must be paid to correct the design. These kinds of changes can increase the home-building budget significantly.
  • Coordination. Design-build architects oversee the entire project from start to finish, which means that everyone working on the project is hand-picked by the contractor. By contrast, architects are hired by the homeowner to work on a portion of the home-building project. The architect must coordinate his or her efforts with the contractor. This can sometimes impact project coordination. In projects that involve architects as well as contractors, communication is critical.
  • Management. Projects that involve a contractor, as well as an architect, can quickly become confusing. Not knowing who precisely is overseeing a project can lead to breakdowns in communication, delays and errors. Putting one person or business definitively in charge of a construction project will help ensure good management of the overall project.

Contact Litchfield Builders

Litchfield Builders has been serving the community of New Haven and the surrounding area for over 25 years. Our long history and extensive experience helps us successfully complete home construction projects every year. As a design-build contractor, we bring quality and skill to every construction project we take on. For more information or to discuss your upcoming construction project, contact us today to set up an appointment.New Call-to-action

About Kevin Ahern

Kevin is the Co-Founder of Litchfield Builders, an award-winning, industry leader with a reputation for managing projects others shy away from. They are known for their high-quality work, customer service, and reliability and though still relatively small in size, Litchfield Builders now competes with some of the areas largest firms in both the residential and commercial arenas.