Residential Design-Build vs. Industrial/Commercial Design-Build: Comparative Thoughts by Design-Build Consultant Bethany Pearce

Posted: Nov 29, 2012

Commercial Insudtrial Design Build Vancouver IslandDesign-Build is a term that is being used for two very diverse areas of construction:  the residential market and the industrial/commercial market.

In the residential market, the term “Design-Build” often communicates a firms specialization in handling a custom project from design, to pre-construction, through to completed construction. There are many talented residential design build teams throughout western Canada including some of my favourites: MyHouse Design-Build in Vancouver, Landeca in Victoria, and of course (my firm!) Capstone Dwellings Design-Build in the Comox Valley and on North Vancouver Island. 

Recently I have had the chance to expand my experience in the industrial/commercial world of Design-Build after building a business largely focused on residential. While much of the principals are the same (team-work, flexibility, innovation) there are some very key differences in the two.

The custom residential Design-Build market is by its honest nature very driven by human emotion. After all, someone who is building their own home for their family will have a lot of hopes and dreams invested into the process. There are factors that come into consideration that give weight to the emotional and lifestyle rewards for the project. 

On the flip side, the Industrial/Commercial world of Design-Build is business driven. There is little need for carefully treading through the array of stakeholder’s emotions because they are rarely brought to workplace. Industrial/Commercial Design-Build clients likely have one common goal in mind: to make money. And now that I have a few years of Design-Build experience under my belt, I am becoming more and more passionate about the world of Design-Build for Industrial/Commercial construction projects. While the model isn’t ideal for every owner or development need, it does bring to the table some very exciting solutions that address this main “money making” factor.

For example, Design-Build is considered by both the Design-Build Institute of America and the Canadian DesignBuild Institute as the best method of construction execution for reducing claims and costs related to changes and delays. This is partly because in the Industrial/Commercial Design-Build arena, the direct owner/builder relationship structured to work well with minimal back-and-forth. Comparatively, this is directly opposite to how most Residential Design-Build firms work directly with their clients. 

For the most part, Design-Build is just beginning to gain a recognized name for itself here on Vancouver Island - and even on the Canadian West Coast. There is still much to do to make sure the Design-Build principals, benefits and suitability are communicated clearly and that all Design-Build professionals, consultants and constructors are on the same page. If you are an owner considering a Design-Build project in Western Canada it is advisable to source a consultant who can work on your behalf as your Design-Build Owner’s Agent. This person can walk you through developing a statement of requirements, producing a Design-Build RFP, lead in the construction procurement process and help bring clarity to the owner’s role though construction.

Whether residential or industrial/commercial, Design-Build can bring modern-day solutions to the table for development and construction. The key to the success of a Design-Build project may be insuring all stakeholders are aware of how to make it the best possible delivery model for the project.

Bethany Pearce is active proponent of both Residential and Industrial/Commercial Design-Build as a designer, consultant, project manager and general contractor. Beathany Pearce, Design Build
Bethany serves Residential Design-Build clients in her home community of the Comox Valley and North Vancouver Island, and serves Industrial/Commercial clients across Vancouver Island. 
Capstone Dwellings Design-Build & Capstone Creative Industries Ltd.
Office – 250-331-9004
Cell – 250-898-7573

Please note that this blog entry was published more than three months ago. Some details may be outdated.
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