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Working With a Design-Build Architect: Everything You Need To Know

WRITTEN BY | Paul Reynolds


The rear exterior of Brick Modern House peeks through trees and foliage, showcasing a blend of iron spot brick and vertical wood siding.

Designing and building a modern custom home is an enormous undertaking that often involves coordinating between several teams, from architects to engineers to contractors.

However, utilizing a design-build architect can streamline the process, offering numerous advantages over the traditional construction model. Design-build is an integrated approach where the design and construction phases are managed by a single entity, streamlining the process and fostering collaboration between designers and builders.

We must note that our definition of a ‘custom home’ is not what you find in a typical suburban neighborhood where you pick from a set of floor plans and can make minor adjustments – those are ‘customizable builder homes’. We’re talking about genuine custom – where the architect and homeowner collaborate on the needs, wants, and desires to create a unique design that may be ‘one-of-a-kind’ conceptually/architecturally. And yes, it would also include custom detail elements, such as cabinetry, millwork, stairs, and bathrooms; just in a more integrated fashion.

Here are 6 benefits of hiring a design-build architect.

Simplified Communication

Instead of coordinating with separate entities – an architect for designing and a builder for constructing your home – you only need to interact with a single point of contact, the design-build architect. This simplicity eases communication, enabling better understanding and fewer chances for miscommunication or misinterpretation of design elements.

Our small studio organization results in designers also being the project managers and construction managers. Because of this, the person designing and creating the drawings and documents will also be leading the construction project. Who knows more about the project than the person who designed and drew it?

Broad Ripple Craftsman Renovation – Job site design meetings with the architect and contractor - Modern Craftsman Renovation - Indianapolis, IN

Cost Savings

Back40House Shed Roof Framing Progress - North Shed Roof Master Bedroom + Studio Framing Progress - Back40House - Pendleton, IN

A design-build architect will oversee the design and construction phases, ensuring the designs are achievable within the set budget. A comprehensive design process plans all design decisions up-front, which also reduce stress during the construction phase.

This planning and communication reduces the likelihood of changes during the construction phase, reducing the chances of cost increases. Moreover, efficiency increases as one team works from start to finish, reducing communication errors.

Time Savings

If time is of the essence, an architect-led design-build team can allow for concurrent design and construction activities. While a specific portion of the house is being built, the later stages can still be designed. Although this ‘fast-track’ process could result in more unforeseen changes or costs, an architect-led process should result in less.

This overlap of activities can expedite the construction schedule significantly. For example, we aren’t required to have the kitchen fully designed before putting a shovel in the ground. While foundation work is happening, we can use that time to finalize the kitchen design.

South Lakeside Exterior Elevation with Shou Sugi Ban Charred Wood Black Siding and black corrugated metal - Lakeside Modern Cottage (H-LODGE) - Unionville, Indiana, Lake Lemon

Quality Control

New Modern House 1 - Interior Progress - 3 Wise Guys - Kevin Swan, Chris Adams, Derek Mills

The seamless integration of the design and construction processes allows for high levels of quality control.

Since the architect is involved in the project from beginning-to end, any potential issues can be identified and addressed early. It’s a level of professional oversight that ensures the architectural integrity of your home.

Innovation and Creativity

If you care about excellent design, then this one is a major difference-maker.

With a comprehensive understanding of the building process, design-build architects can use their creativity without losing sight of practicality and efficiency. Architects’ designs may be more aesthetically innovative than standard cookie-cutter homes, while also integrating the latest building technologies.

Qualified architects constantly research and elevate their knowledge about all aspects of the design and construction industry – it’s actually a requirement for licensure. Architects have a passion for design and integrated solutions; they’ve spent their careers working to help elevate the built environment.

Architect-Led Design/Build - South facade highlights layered materials and volumes - Industrial Farm Modern - Back40House - Pendleton, IN

Smooth Execution

Parti Diagram 2 - Design Concept - Back40House - Pendleton, IN

As design-build architects control the whole project from inception to completion, the chances of conflicts, discrepancies, or unwanted surprises are drastically reduced.

This streamlined approach (one-stop shop) increases the likelihood of a smooth, stress-free experience. It also means fewer change orders!

Choosing a design-build architect for your modern custom home gives you the advantage of a single point of responsibility. It promises a unified vision for your project, providing a smoother, more efficient journey to your dream home.

Are you ready to turn your dream home into a reality with the expertise of a design-build architect? Explore the possibilities and streamline your custom home construction journey. Connect with a reputable design-build architect today to discuss your dreams and take the first step towards a smoother, more efficient, and personalized building experience.

Your dream home awaits – start the conversation now!