Securing Time On Your Builder’s Schedule

This past Sunday, we were at BILD’s Destination Renovation at The National Home Show in Toronto, volunteering our time to answer homeowners’ questions about renovation projects. 

During the course of the day, we spoke with a few homeowners who were planning a house addition or significant renovation this year, and were already working with an architect to design their project.   They had not, however, chosen a builder for their project.   Many were waiting to complete their plans, and then shop for a builder.

By the end of the day, the drawback to the design-bid-build approach was obvious.  The speed at which the project progresses from the design stage to the construction stage can be significantly longer when the bidding is done after all design is complete.  By the time plans are distributed to builders and renovators, responses are received and evaluated, and the chosen builder is available to start the project, several months can go by.  Unfortunately, some of the homeowners we spoke to this weekend will not be starting work this year because next winter will be upon us by the time decisions are made.  Or they will settle on a builder who may not necessarily be their first choice, but they are available to start the work.

Homeowners choose to work directly with an architect for many reasons.  Two of the major reasons are: 1) They have seen the architect’s work and they like it, and 2) They want to obtain quotes and bids from multiple contractors and builders.  Both of these are valid reasons.

If you’re a homeowner looking to obtain multiple quotes, you’ve designed design-bid-build is the best approach for a project.  You’ll have to accept the timelines and allow additional time to obtain quotes, evaluate them, and allow time for your selected builder to be available to start your project.

If you’re working with an architect for his or her design expertise, then you have the option to choose your builder earlier in the process, and get a commitment that they will be available to start construction once the design is complete.  This may be accomplished with a financial deposit, or by involving the builder as a consultant in the design stage.  The builder may even be able to make recommendations to save money or make the building process  easier.

If you haven’t started with design work, consider a design build approach, where one entity – usually the builder – is responsible for the entire project from start to finish.  The builder or contractor will design the project, obtain permits, and do all the construction.   One of the benefits is a quick progression from design to construction.