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4 Min Read

Should You Choose Design-Build or Design-Bid-Build?

Your custom home building experience in New Jersey should be comfortable, not stretch you beyond your budget, and leave you with a custom home that meets your vision. There are two delivery methods you can choose from: design-bid-build and design-build. If you’re not sure what the differences are, you’re not alone. Read further to learn the differences and why the design-build method comes with more benefits and happier homeowners.


What Is the Difference Between Design-Bid-Build and Design-Build?

It’s common not to know the difference between design-bid-build and design-build. You’ve come to the right place for a simple breakdown to make the best decision for your custom home process. 


The design-bid-build method has been around for quite some time and is what many believe is the only way to build a custom home. However, the method is fraught with complications and the probability of going over budget. Why? Let’s start from the beginning. 

Usually, the design-bid-build process will begin with spending time with an architect to create a design that will be sent to builders for a bid. Prospective builders will create a bid at no cost to you. This may sound great, but by not charging you, they will spend the minimum amount of time possible to create a bid that’s at the lowest cost possible. This means they will source the cheapest materials and the cheapest labor, often excluding things you’d expect to be in that bid. You get a number from each. 

The bids may not include what you want and you may not even know because they likely won’t have a lot of detail in these bids. What you do see is written in a way that you won’t see what’s included. Seems frustrating, right? In the worst cases, you may be charged tens of thousands of dollars more than you originally thought you’d have to pay, or even end up in court because of your builder’s cost-cutting practices. 


With the design-build model, you’re focused on finding a builder that you like rather than the cheapest option. Many times, the builder will recommend architects that are best suited for your project and your expectations, which will set the tone for a more tailored experience that keeps your budget intact and on time. You’ll also have your builder and architect working together to design a plan that’s within your budget based on all the information necessary to get it right from the start. 

Your builder will dedicate more time to researching costs and focusing on what you want out of your design. They’ll spend time getting to know the materials and designs you like and want to include in your custom home. It’s the only way to get the most accurate price–from a collaboration of each professional’s complementary knowledge. 

The price will also be far more detailed due to the time dedicated to get every detail to your exact wants and needs to create a Statement of Work. Add-ons, options, what’s included and what’s not will all be there for you to see. Paying for a design service to price your design accurately will save you far more than using the design-bid-build process in the end.

For these reasons, the bid process is dated and ends with more dissatisfaction than not. With design-build, everyone involved is working for you to develop a plan that meets your needs and wants and stays within your budget for your ideal custom New Jersey home. 


kitchen with white cabinets and hardwood floors in central new jersey custom by GTG Builders

What Are the Advantages of Design-Build?

You’ve already learned about the core differences between design-bid and design-bid-build. Now we’ll offer more benefits about the design-build process.  

Streamlined Process

Working with a design-build firm creates a process that’s smooth and well-informed. This is because of the built-in collaboration that is part of the design-build process. You’re also not putting in the extra work and time it takes to hire multiple professionals. Your trusted builder will match you with an architect that suits your design goals, saving time by not having to schedule multiple consultations and interviews. 

Your builder will also perform a land assessment to ensure your design is feasible, within your budget, and contains all the necessary information to reduce the need for several design iterations. Don't have land yet? Your builder can survey land before you make an offer to ensure the costs to prepare your land in Central New Jersey won't inhibit your desire for a custom home. 

Better Communication

A design-build team understands the value of transparent and honest communication. When your team is a cohesive unit from the start and who already have an established professional relationship. You’ll also benefit from a single point of contact, rather than having to perform project management responsibilities yourself, like acting as a go-between. Most design-build teams will also give you access to a construction management program that’s used for communication, file-sharing, and 24/7 access to construction schedules, progress reports, and daily job logs. 

Staying Within Budget

Your builder offers valuable information about industry pricing about products and labor. By having your architect and builder working in tandem from the start, you’re receiving a highly-detailed design plan with accurate pricing and cost-saving alternatives while still achieving your design goals. You’ll also receive a design that’s structurally feasible because your builder is involved during the design process. The design-build process will give you confidence going into the construction phase, knowing that your price will be your final price. 

Single Source of Accountability

With both professionals working together, problem-solving can happen in real time rather than after the fact. If there are any issues or challenges, the team can handle the obstacle swiftly and through collaboration, rather than taking time to decide who’s to blame. Instead, creative and cost-saving problem-solving can happen without delay. 

Which Project Delivery Method Is Better for Your Custom Central New Jersey Home?

It’s likely clear that the design-build method comes with far more benefits than the design-bid-build method. This is why the design-bid-build method is on its way out as the default way to build a custom home. 

GTG Builders is a design-build firm that is focused on giving our clients the highest quality custom home building experience in Somerset, Mercer, Ocean, and Hunterdon Counties. To learn more about our process and our experience creating high-end custom homes, contact us for a consultation


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