Why choose design and build?

Long gone are the days when you needed to hire a separate architect and builder. Now, with design and build companies like I&E Contractors, you get the exceptional benefits of two services combined into one.

The result? Your project is often smoother, faster and less costly with minimal snags and higher quality results.

How does designs and build work?
Your project will be designed and built by teams working in the same company. In the case of I&E Contractors, our design team would work with you to create the designs and plans for your project, and then our build team would take these plans to turn your project into reality. This brings a number of powerful advantages to your project.
What are the benefits of choosing a design and build company?

Far faster speed of delivery thanks to I&E Contractors’ parallel approach

Usually, build projects take a linear route, where you need to do one stage after the other. For example, the tender stage begins only when the design stage is finished.

As I&E Contractors design and build teams collaborate together for your project under one roof, we can introduce a slight overlap to the various stages. For example, whilst the design process is on-going, we can set the tendering process in motion. Similarly, the beginning of the construction process can commence whilst we’re finishing off the tender process.

With all of the teams being experts who are cut from the same cloth, we can work together on your project and plan it out with intricate detail to merge the various stages into one. This can reduce the amount of time your project takes by up to a massive 40% compared to more traditional approaches.

More responsibility for the results of your project

The design and build company is responsible for all stages of the project from start to finish, meaning that there is only one single point of responsibility. The primary advantage of this is that, if something goes wrong, there aren’t separate architect and build companies to shift the blame between each other and try to diminish their own responsibility for the problem. If there’s an issue, you immediately know that it’s your design and build company’s problem to fix.

Providing a more price-conscious service throughout the design and build stages

A separate architect has no real reason to try and be as cost efficient as possible, so they may produce a design with overly expensive materials and then leave it to you and your build team to deal with how it will fit into your budget.

With design and build, we factor in your budget and a price-conscious approach from start to finish. The design team includes materials and construction methods which provide that perfect combination between quality and cost, and the design team can collaborate with the build team to make sure that the design is feasible for your budget and helps you get a higher quality result for less.

Consistent feasibility and acceptance for your project

With separate design and build companies, there’s a risk that your architect may create unfeasible solutions which are only considered impractical when passed to the build team – thereby causing severe project delays.

With companies like I&E Contractors, the design and build experience is combined, so the design team can create concepts which are fully feasible in cost and construction from day one.

This also means that the build team is involved in the design process from the beginning, so there’s no risk of the final design being rejected by the build team due to it being unrealistic because of cost or logistical constraints.

No uncertainty over cost

Having both design and build experience under one roof means that the design, procurement, supply and build stages can remain far more consistent when it comes to pricing and the expected cost of various expenditures.

This is the main reason why I&E Contractors can provide a fixed and contracted price which doesn’t go one penny over (unless the brief is changed after the final project cost is calculated).

Better communication

Talk to I&E Contractors and you’re talking to your design team and build team at once. These teams can also collaborate together to share information and make sure that everyone is on the same page. This makes it far easier to communicate your feedback and handle the overall direction of the project.

More flexibility in scheduling and project changes

If you want to make a change during the build phase, you would usually have to contact your architect and pass the information back and forwards between them and the build team to make any changes required.

With design and build companies such as I&E Contractors, it’s all under one roof, so any changes can be quickly collaborated on by the design and build teams to get them swiftly planned out, approved and acted upon.

A smoother project with minimal snags

In design and build companies, the separate design and build teams would have previously worked on potentially hundreds of projects together over many years, so they fully understand each others roles and their specific approach to their respective fields.

This is unlike separate architecture and build companies, where they may not be used to each others methods of working. With design and build teams being from one company and cut from the same cloth, the risk of snags, misunderstandings and miscommunications can be considerably reduced to result in a much smoother project.

Save time and money with fewer administrative burdens

Separate design and build companies need to communicate back and forwards and adapt to each others administrative requirements. With design and build companies, the communication and working relationship between the design and build teams has already been well established and thoroughly optimised. This can speed up the overall project timescale to save money and help you enjoy the finished result faster.

A lower risk of disrupting subcontractors

With no separate design and build companies vying for control, there’s a much smaller risk of external design consultants or subcontractors being misinformed or misdirected. Any external parties answer only to one company and always know exactly where they stand.

A lower risk of disputes and litigation

If a problem occurs during the project, then a dispute between the architect and build company can escalate into a serious problem which involves litigation. With design and build, the various teams involved with your project work for the same company and share equal responsibility, so there’s a far lower risk of disputes arising and then spiralling out of control.

Save time by eliminating the construction contractor bid phase

With the traditional approach of appointing an architect and a builder, there may need to be a delay when you take the plans from the architect and then start the construction bid phase to receive quotes from build companies.

With a design and build company, the design process seamlessly moves on to the build process, so you can shave off days or even weeks of time which you otherwise would have spent collecting bids to choose a build company.

Understanding each others capabilities

If you choose a separate build company and a separate architect or design company, they may not understand each others abilities. For example, an architect may create a highly complex piece of work which your build company has no experience with, meaning that your important project could essentially be used as a tester.

Worse still, no one wants to back down and be seen as the weaker of the two, meaning that a build company may forge ahead with a complex construction task which is out of their depth.

With the design and build teams united under the same company, they fully understand each others capabilities. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the designers will be limiting their creativity to suit the build team. It may mean that the designers can actually increase their creativity and innovation to take full potential of a highly talented build team which has the infrastructure to deal with even the most complex projects.

Without this understanding between the two sides, many architects may act cautiously when designing a project to ensure that it’s feasible for a broader range of build companies. In design and build, this problem never occurs.

Combining designing, building and engineering

Some design and build companies, including I&E Contractors, also have in-house engineers to contribute to all stages of your project. This is useful in a number of ways.

Firstly, an engineer can bridge the gap between architects and builders to make sure that the plans are feasible within the constraints of the project and also feasible in-terms of cost. This can be a common issue with separate architecture and build companies, where your architect is more focused on trying to impress you without factoring in budgetary or feasibility constraints. It may then fall to the build company to finally receive the plans and then point out that they cannot be realistically built to fit within your budget. With a project engineer on-board, they can bring construction input to the design stage to make sure that the plans are cost and project feasible as they are being created.

Another key input is value engineering. This is where the engineer goes through your project in detail to identify any cost saving opportunities which help you get the same aesthetic result for less expenditure.

Thirdly, a project engineer can optimise build functionality. For example, your engineer could identify a more efficient method of achieving the same aesthetic result with cheaper materials or more effective build methods.

Finally, a project engineer can contribute to the creation of formal construction plans and also produce drawings for various other purposes, such as building control and planning permission. By tapping into knowledge of the design and build phases, an engineer can accurately replicate the designer’s project vision in plans which allow the build team to construct the project in a faster and more accurate way.

Planning permission and building regulation approval

Design and build companies usually include all planning formalities within your project, and with the design and build methodology, this process is usually smoother with a lower risk of problems.

As design teams, build teams and engineers all work under the same roof, your project plans can be created from day one to make sure that they meet all planning permissions and building regulations. By avoiding issues before they even arise in the first place, your plans can be submitted with the highest possible chance of first-time approval.

Design and build companies combine the knowledge of architecture with the knowledge of construction. This enables them to have an in-depth understanding of how planning permission works, what your local authority expects and how the permissions transition into a real-life build project. This means that they can submit plans based on their knowledge and experience of what is most likely to be accepted, and also fight your corner if the plans are rejected or only approved subject to conditions.

In the case of design and build companies like I&E Contractors, we can liaise with your local authority and building control regulator on your behalf to create the relevant plans, submit them and deal with any formalities to achieve all permissions required for your project.

Receive an ‘all in one’ managed service

A design and build company usually supplies everything to take your project from its first brief to a completed build. This not only includes the separate design and build stages, but also engineering, sourcing suppliers, sourcing materials, obtaining planning permission and sub-contracting any specialist work. This often also includes a dedicated project manager to oversee every stage of your project from start to finish.

This approach can be far smoother and more efficient for you instead of having to deal with multiple companies and essentially having to manage your project yourself.

With design and build, it’s less about supplying individual services and more about supplying results, so you can lay down the brief of what you’re looking for and then leave it to your design and build company to turn it into reality with all of the relevant services included in one package.

How does design and build work?

The process usually follows these 4 steps in a highly organised and overlapped approach known as parallel working:

1). Consultancy and appraisal – Sitting down with you to absorb your ideas, make suggestions and appraise your project.

2). Design – Creating sketches, concept designs, planning drawings, building regulation drawings, M&E plans, engineering drawings and 3D drawings and 3D interactive walkthroughs to bring your ideas to life and work on them until you’re delighted with how they look.

3). Tendering and procurement – Compiling the tender documents in order to produce itemised pricing for the project and sourcing materials, fixtures and fittings.

4). Construction – Taking all the design team’s plans and specifications and beginning the construction phase to turn your dream new build or renovation into reality.

If I use a design and build company, do I need to employ anyone else?
Usually not. Most design and build companies will have the staff and infrastructure to handle every stage of the process – including consultation, design, planning, tendering, procurement and construction. If specialists are required for very unique aspects of your project, then this can also be sub-contracted by your design and build company. This means that you only ever deal with a single entity from start to finish.
Do I get a dedicated project manager?
Most design and build companies offer a project manager. In the case of I&E Contractors, you will receive a dedicated project manager as standard who will oversee your project and keep you in control every step of the way.
Is there any situation where separate architect and build companies are better?
The design and build methodology has no limits in-terms of project complexity or size. The only limit is the infrastructure of individual design and build company you choose. However, most companies will be able to give you a free consultation to go over your brief and advise on whether they have the capabilities and experience to comfortably handle your project requirements.
What if I want to make changes during the construction phase?
The added flexibility of design and build makes it easy to factor in any changes you would like to make during the construction phase. Instead of an architectural company passing the designs to a build company (thereby de facto finishing their role in the project), the teams within a design and build company work together under the same roof, meaning that any changes can be quickly worked on by the designers, factored into the budget and then passed straight back to the construction team to be implemented.
How much faster can my project be completed with design and build?
The traditional approach of linear working means that each stage needs to be completed one after the other. With the design and build approach of parallel working, various stages can be overlapped to reduce project time. From I&E Contractors experience, projects can be completed up to 40% faster with this approach.
How much cheaper can my project be completed with design and build?
Parallel working and a more efficient methodology means that design and build can also provide a cheaper result whilst maintaining the same level of quality and workmanship. In a study conducted at Pennsylvania State University by Victor Sanvido and Mark Konchar, it was noted that project costs can be up to 6.1% less than with a traditional method of using separate architecture and construction companies. However, savings can sometimes be far higher than this depending on the nature of the project. Cost savings such as these not only allow you to spend less for the same result, but also help you maximise your budget to get more quality and innovation out of the amount you’re willing to spend.
How much control will I have working with a design and build company?

A key element of design and build is putting you in as much control as possible. Instead of trying to put across your ideas to separate architecture and build companies, you only deal with one entity who takes your vision and ensures that it’s worked into the entire fabric of your project – from the initial consultation to the final build. Companies like I&E Contractors also provide a dedicated project manager who organises the various tasks and feeds your direction through to the relevant specialists working on your project.

Working with one entity in this way also means that you receive detailed updates about every stage of your project and get accustomed to a single way of working which is suitable for you. This can be different to the traditional approach of using a separate architect and build company, where you may have only just became settled with the working relationship you have with your architect, but then need to start the process of building rapport and trust with a new company who is responsible for the construction side of your project.

5 tips for choosing and working with a design and build company

1). Use the initial consultation to find out if they’re the right company for you

The initial consultation isn’t just about discussing your project, but it’s also about getting a feel for a design and build company you may be deciding on. After all, good rapport is key to a successful project. Any worthwhile design and build company should be generous with advice and suggestions on how to help you get the most out of your project. This not only involves ways to improve quality and results, but also ways to save money.

2). Use case studies and testimonials to help you decide

Choose a design and build company which has results to back up what they say. These are usually in the form of testimonials, case studies and photographs which show the finished results of a wide range of residential and commercial projects. Feel free to browse our website to find testimonials and case studies documenting our success with construction and building projects all over London.

3). Use a company which offers contracted guarantees

Any design and build company with confidence in its services should be willing to offer various guarantees. For example, I&E Contractors offers a defect-free promise, workmanship guarantees, fixed budget guarantees and even deadline guarantees, where we promise to meet your deadline or pay you for every day it goes over. This gives you total peace of mind that you can choose a company you can trust which is willing to put itself on the line for every facet of your project.

4). Make sure your design and build company assigns a project manager

Many design and build companies, including I&E Contractors, assign a project manager to you as standard. We believe that this shouldn’t be a costly extra, but a standard aspect of working with any company, as a project manager makes sure that your project is much smoother and hassle-free. They can organise the various tasks required whilst keeping you firmly in control every step of the way.

5). Provide as much information as you can

A major responsibility of any design and build company is to take your ideas and turn them into reality as accurately as possible. That’s why, at I&E Contractors, we encourage clients to provide as much information as possible to help us really capture their vision. Briefs, drawings, sketches, discussions, magazine clippings and mood boards can help a design and build company to better understand what you’re looking for and capture every detail of your dream result.