Design / Build Process

Our Design / Build Process


When clients first inquire about a new home or commercial project, we generally ask a series of questions to make sure we will be a good fit at least with this preliminary information. We then set up an office meeting to dive further into the details of the project and show you more about our company.

Step I: Initial Meeting

This initial phase involves meeting to determine:

  • The objectives of the project.
  • Project budget parameters.
  • Desired project schedule.

The purpose of this phase is to determine the feasibility of the your objectives in light of the budget and schedule parameters. If the site has not yet been chosen, we can assist with this process or recommend the appropriate real estate professionals. If the architect has not yet been chosen, we can recommend firms that we believe would be a good match.

Step II: Site

The lot or site needs to be picked out first as this will affect the design parameters due to views, topography, setback constraints, etc.

Step III: Architect

We will use the information gathered from our initial meeting to recommend an architectural firm or firms. Often we will set up this meeting and attend at least the first session. Contracts can be set up in several formats, but often we will have you contract directly with the architect. The architect will provide a proposal usually with 2 phases: The preliminary schematic drawings to develop a preliminary cost estimate and then the final set of construction drawings to obtain a permit and define the scope for the final construction contract.

The Phase I schematic design documents will include preliminary:

  • Floor plans.
  • Elevations.
  • Site Plans.

These preliminary plans will be reviewed with the you throughout the process to verify they meet your objectives. This process usually takes between 2 weeks and several months depending upon how many changes are made along the way.

Step IV: Preliminary Cost Estimate

Upon acceptance of the schematic plans, we will provide a preliminary cost estimate and schedule to verify these criteria are still within the your parameters. This process generally takes about 2-3 weeks depending upon our current cost estimating workload. We can generally provide an estimate that is 90+% accurate, by filling in the detail gaps with our experience from past projects. This estimate provides a data point that you and the architect can then use to modify the final plans appropriately to stay within budget.

To obtain this estimate, we send the plans out to 2 to 3 of our trade partners for each construction category (generally 50+ in total). This step makes sure we are always getting the best possible pricing since every subcontractor knows one to two other subcontractors in their category are also bidding. Contractors who use the same subcontractors exclusively will find their pricing creep up steadily over time. We have qualified all these subcontractors as the vast majority in Kansas City do not meet out standards. To keep the best trade partners, we pay quickly, keep organized schedules, maintain clean job sites, and provide excellent supervision to answer questions as these arise. We put our project management fee after these trade partner costs and that creates the total cost.

Step V: Finalize Plans

Once we are comfortable the design will meet all criteria and be within budget, the architect can proceed to the final design phase. This phase involves producing a detailed set of drawings and specifications which can be used to determine the construction cost and obtain all building permits. Depending upon the complexity of the project, these drawings may include:

  • Full Architectural and Interior Design plans and specifications.
  • Full Civil Engineering and Landscaping site plans.
  • Structural Engineering plans.
  • Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Lighting plans.
  • Acoustical and Audio Visual plans.

Step VI: Final Cost and Contract

Once the construction documents are complete, we go through the same estimating process again with the final drawings and specifications. Because of the cost estimating during the preliminary design phase, this final number should be within the project budget. This cost is a locked in Fixed Price and will not change unless the scope of the project changes. We both sign a contract at this price and we are ready to build!

Step VII: Build!

In this process, because of the thorough attention to detail by all parties in the design phase, the actual construction is the easiest part of the process! We will be very familiar with all project objectives and in most cases have been working with the trade partners throughout the design work. We will provide excellent on site supervision and provide you with weekly project update reports. Once construction is complete, we will perform an orientation walk through to provide information on the operation and maintenance of the new facilities. Time to enjoy your new home or commercial facility!

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