Design-Build Firm vs. General Contractor: Which is the Way to Go?

by | Jun 22, 2021 | Bathroom, Bedroom, blog, Custom Remodels, How to, Kitchen, mudrooms, Powder Rooms, Remodeling | 0 comments

What Are the Advantages to Working with a Milwaukee Design-Build Firm Over Other Types?

You want to make some significant changes, renovations, and updates to your home, so you’ve been doing some research. Good for you! Knowing what you want and whom to work with is the best way to have the finished product look exactly how you envisioned it.

Kitchen Remodel

However, throughout your search, you’ve been seeing the term “design-build” but aren’t sure what it means. How is it different from other kinds of remodeling contractors, architecture firms, or builders? Are there advantages to working with a Milwaukee design-build firm

Having work done on your home can be very exciting but also sometimes rather complicated and overwhelming. It’s important to feel comfortable with the builder and trust that they know what they’re doing. Additionally, to know the benefits of working with a Milwaukee design-build firm, first, you must understand the concept.


What Is a Design-Build Firm?

The simplest explanation of a design-build firm is that it is a seamless, one-stop shop to manage a remodeling or building project. You might think of the design and the construction of a home as two separate jobs, but they don’t have to be. A Milwaukee area design-build firm works with you from the first step of designing the renovation through the completion of the construction project. 

There are huge benefits to working with a company that uses a design-build approach. There is unity and cooperation among the designers, the builders, and the homeowners. This firm will have a complete team already in-house to handle every step of the project. Rather than meeting with various contractors and coordinating schedules around the architect, the interior designer, the tradespeople, etc., a design-build firm manages every aspect. Even better, these firms also complete the required engineering work and permitting process for the project for you. 

With a Milwaukee design-build firm, the entire remodeling project is handled by them. They create the plan and do the construction work. The process begins by meeting with a designer to turn your vision into the ideal floor plan. From there, your designer helps you with material selection and places orders. Then the remodeling begins. It’s that simple.

The Benefits of Hiring a Milwaukee Design-Build Firm

One of the best aspects of working with a design-build firm is that it is simple and straightforwardThe entire process fosters cohesion and continuity. This results in a final design that adds value to your home and offers peace of mind. You don’t have to take on the difficult job of finding various contractors for the project and sign multiple contracts.

Plus, if, during construction, the design needs to change, you deal with a single source to resolve it – the contractor. Also, the design and construction can be completed in stages and allows for flexibility with the project.

Other Benefits to Milwaukee Design-Build Firm

Not only is the process more streamlined, but there are also more benefits to working with a design-build firm. Below are several to consider:

●       Work With a Designer Who Knows Your Home and Your Lifestyle

The design process begins with a consultation to discuss your ideas, your vision, and your project. The designer will walk through your home, review the space, answer your questions, and discuss your priorities and goals. 

By considering how you live in your home and how you use the area, a plan is created, and a realistic budget is established. The goal of your finished product is to add value to your home, provide enjoyment every day, and enhance your lifestyle. This process also makes it possible for you to customize your space.

Additionally, you will work with a professional to select products and finishes for the cabinets, tile, lighting, hardware, flooring, countertops, etc. Using their product knowledge and many years of experience, you can easily select the ideal products for your home. Plus, if you decide on a product that needs a longer lead time, the designers will place the order early to arrive in time for the start of the project.

●       Budget Conscious

By working with a design-builder, it is easier for you to be more aware of the entire budget, to be able to stick to it, to make changes if necessary, and to reach the goals set for your home. Because designers monitor your project, you can set a realistic budget and get more for your money. You have more control over spending, make the most of your budget, and monitor estimated costs at every step. 

Your target budget is established upfront, and the floor plan is created by someone familiar with costs. Various features and prices are discussed before starting the construction. If a more expensive feature is being considered, the designer can tell you the cost to include it. You can then make an educated decision regarding where you spend your money during the project’s planning with no financial surprises at the end. The final price can be negotiated and will be agreed upon by all parties before signing.


Often, an architect may not know the costs or create a beautiful but overly complex design. For example, let’s say that the original plans include a covered patio and an outdoor kitchen off the back of the house. Instead, you decide to add a second laundry area in the master bedroom. Because the design-builder knows the costs, she can give the numbers to you to make a clear, informed choice. A separate architect may not be able to do this.

You can get accurate answers and information before and during the building process when working with a design-build firm. You’ll know what everything will cost and can proceed to the construction phase with confidence. This can also eliminate or minimize change orders that increase costs and slow down the building process.

●       Expedited Processes

A large project can sometimes be completed more quickly when working with an in-house designer and just one firm managing the building process. There’s no need to switch between various companies, and there are smooth transitions, which can also save on costs. There is also less stress on you, the homeowner, as well – and that’s a bonus!

Bathroom Project by Design Tech Remodeling

The entire process is streamlined because there is no need for trade partner bids, fewer disputes, and building problems are resolved before construction begins. There is also just one point of contact, and a faster project can result in reduced costs. Plus, teamwork ensures accurate time and cost estimates because the same sub-contractors and tradespeople are used for each project. Better communication between the builders and designer prevents expensive change orders, too.

●       More Control for the Homeowners

As mentioned earlier, you need to connect well and trust the Milwaukee area design-build firm you ultimately choose. More than any other type of contractor, you will have much more control over how your remodeling project turns out by working with a design-build firm. Their job is to understand your vision, create a design, apply it to a realistic budget, and guide you through the entire process. 

The right design-build firm puts you in control. The design is done in collaboration with costs discussed throughout the process. You will have only one contact for the project, and you can leave the logistics and details to the professionals.

●       The Design is Consistent With Your Home’s Aesthetics

Whether you’re adding a large, complex addition or updating a kitchen or master bathroom, a design-build firm will create something beautiful to match your existing home. The professional designers will pair the latest design trends with timeless construction methods. The remodeled areas of the house will blend seamlessly with the rest.

●       Teamwork Creates Higher Quality

Because all aspects of the design-build process are taken care of by one firm, this ensures higher quality workmanship. This is due to the collaboration between all members of the team. They work together to provide expertise, experience, and input into the final design. This also allows the team to offer solutions to potential problems that may arise during the project and quickly resolve them. Quality is improved because everyone works together to meet and exceed performance standards.

Milwaukee area Design-Build Firms versus General Contractors

Now that you understand more about design-build firms, how are they different from a general contractor? Although you can choose to work with either a design-build firm or a general contractor (among other types), there are some major differences to be aware of.

The most significant difference is that, with a building project, a general contractor only manages the construction portion of the project. You provide them the design, and the contractor completes the physical work of the plans. Following building codes, a general contractor hires subs (also known as subcontractors) to perform the plumbing, carpentry, electrical work, etc. General contractors often have no participation or input in developing the final design for you. Design bid Build vs Design-Build

On the other hand, a design-build firm manages the same responsibilities and performs the same duties as the general contractor; however, they are also in charge of much more. This firm will oversee the entire project and contribute to the project’s initial design, the aesthetic appeal, and the final function of the completed job. 

For example, let’s say you’ve hired a general contractor for your project. The tile installer arrives to take care of your kitchen floor. He discovers the floor is uneven and, until it’s leveled, he will be unable to install the tiles. He will stop working, leaving it to the general contractor to contact someone to handle the problem, pushing back the timeline. With a design-build firm, the uneven floor will most likely be noticed during the design phase or the demolition. If not seen before or during demolition, the problem can still be taken care of more quickly and efficiently during the remodeling process.

Design-Build Firms versus Design-Bid-Build in the Milwaukee Area

Traditionally, you will meet with an architect and designer with a design-bid-build system to create a set of plans for your remodeling project. There needs to be a complete set, with the floor plans and any electrical plans, plumbing plans, etc., for anything that may be added or changed. Then, you will put out a call for bids from various construction contractors. 

Although this method of hiring a designer and collecting bids is time-tested, it also has several flaws. For example:

● The most common occurrence is miscommunication between the homeowner, the designer, and the construction company.

● Going through the process of getting bids makes the construction timeline much longer.

● If additional drawings or redesigns become necessary, costs can add up.

● Quality may not be prioritized if the lowest bidder wins the contract for the construction project.

By working with a design-build firm, you can combine all the aspects of the project under a single contract. This way, you can save time, potentially save money, and get the most for your budget.

Milwaukee Design-Build Firm: The Best Choice

The Design-Build Firm is the kind of construction firm that is the best choice because it eliminates many challenges. It streamlines the construction process because you do not need to hire both an architect and a contractor. The design-build firm combines both so everyone works as a team – the designer, the construction crew, and you.

Choosing the Right Design-Build Company

As you do your research for a remodeling company, be sure to do some homework before you hire anyone. At your first meeting, prepare a list of questions to ask both a construction company and a designer/architect because they need to meet both of these needs. Ask for references and look at samples of their work. This will help you decide if they are the right company for you. More information for choosing the right company can be found here.

Design Tech Remodeling: Your Milwaukee Area Design-Build Firm

If you want a simple, cost-efficient, lower-risk, and higher-quality option for your interior remodeling project, make Design Tech Remodeling your first choice.

Typically, because your needs change, you begin to dream about remodeling your home. Perhaps your children have left for their apartment or your elderly parents moved in. Maybe you want to upgrade the space. 

Design Tech Remodeling works with you to reflect these needs. With a strategic and impeccable execution of the remodeling project, the designers will walk you through the process to make everything easier and more enjoyable.

Their excellent reputation and award-winning work illustrate how Design Tech Remodeling is renowned throughout the community for designing spaces that will delight you for years to come.

Explore the Remodeling Gallery to see why they are the ultimate in remodeling homes. Contact Design Tech Remodeling today to find out how they can turn your dream into a reality.

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