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What are the steps to a design-build project?

Step One: Planning and Development-This stage involves introducing the architect and general contractor and pre-designing the build/facility.

Step Two: Design/Build-When architects and contractors join together in the design phase project costs are easier to estimate. The design team wants to be sure their designs meet building codes and regulations. The construction bidding process is also a part of this phase. This process is needed to help determine a total cost for the project. The main contractor is also hired during this phase which helps the process run more smoothly when the entire team is involved in the development of the project. Programming is typically handled by the Architect. It allows you to get a better idea of functional needs, space, and building flexibility. The programming phase will give you an idea of the building size, total number of rooms and how they will be utilized. Feasibility needs to address site access, utility connections, building orientation, and many other items. Schematic Design will allow you to determine how you want your company to look. Design sketches showing materials, sizes, colors, textures, shapes, and patterns of your building project. Design Development refers to the research of materials and equipment needed for your project and how much they cost. Contract Documents/Working Drawings are the final specs and a complete set of drawings to form what is called the contract documents or working drawings. Contractors use these to assess their bids. Builders use these for the construction process. The contract sets timelines and costs for each stage of the project. These documents help avoid cost increases throughout the build process.

Step Three:  Pre-Construction- During this phase lists of materials are compiled and sent to vendors and contractors to request quotes. Typically, three quotes are gathered to set a budget analysis. All necessary building permits are gathered and insurance is obtained. Once project owners notify their general contractors to proceed, project team roles are assigned:

  • Project Manager- Point person for the project.
  • Superintendent– Coordinates on-site construction activities and adheres to time schedules, including materials deliveries and equipment.
  • Contract Administrator– Helps Project Manager and Superintendent with contract details.
  • Field Engineer– Investigate the site during pre-construction to determine if anything needs to be done prior to construction. They check the site foundation and environment to be sure they are in good building condition. They ensure that there are no historical artifacts that could be in danger and the handle any important paperwork.

 Step Four: The Procurement Process is the purchasing of items needed to complete the construction project. Based on the contract, purchase orders are created. A purchase order ensures that the items purchased meet the required specs and stay within the budget that is agreed to.

 Step Five: The Construction Phase begins with a meeting where decisions are made in regards to work hours, site access, materials storage and quality control. After a groundbreaking, work begins. Depending on the specs, construction will include site excavation, the installation of any underground utilities, concrete work, steel erection, framing, roofing, any and all exterior and interior work needed, etc. Each step is inspected by the project manager and an official state construction inspector. This phase ends only when construction is complete.

 Step Six: Post Construction- Once construction is complete and before the building can be occupied, there are several steps that must occur. A project punch list, which includes a final walkthrough to check for items such as a paint color change, replace any broken tiles, etc. Once the punch list is complete and signed off, occupancy can begin. During this phase equipment and furniture are installed or calibrated. When all requirements have been met the architect will issue a certificate of substantial completion. This represents the official completion of the project. When this occurs, there will be a final inspection by the building official.