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Design Build

At Houck Incorporated, we maintain a design department including highly talented and well-educated architects, draftsmen and interior designers.  The seamless collaborative between our design team and our construction team on site ensures that the clients vision is carried out entirely.

What Is Design-Build?

Design-Build construction is a project delivery system where the design and construction aspects are contracted through a single firm.  It differs from the more Traditional approach, Design-Bid-Build, where separate firms perform the different functions.  The Design-Build system is used to minimize the project risk for an owner and to reduce the overall project timeline by overlapping the design and construction phases. 

It is one of the oldest forms of construction, developing from the "Master Builder" approach that built many of the most complex pre-modern structures from Greek temples to medieval castles and cathedrals.  Master Builders accepted full responsibility for integrating conceptual design with functional performance.  To them, anything less than complete accountability for delivering a successful project was unthinkable.

Today, there has been a tremendous resurgence back toward this time-tested approach.  In Non-Residential projects, the Design-Build methodology has gone from a small 5% share 25 years ago to nearly half of all projects today.  It's popularity clearly shows the benefits are being realized by clients who use that approach. 

Design-Build Process

Unlike the back-and-forth linear traditional method, the Design-Build model overlaps the design, permit and construction schedules so the project can be built and delivered much quicker. With design and construction working in concert, the design-build method eliminates the risk of re-design, which could prove costly to both the client's schedule and budget. Design-build also allows for the project cost to be established much earlier in the process - often before the final drawings are completed.

In general, the process would follow this path:

Design Needs and Desires Assessment
This is the information gathering and analyzing phase. It encompasses all work necessary prior to actually designing your home or remodeling project. During this time, we formulate a detailed "program" which defines your needs and objectives. We begin to consider function, character, and image of people and natural spaces. We analyze and diagram your site and determine the best orientation and placement of the project. During this stage we also establish a baseline budget and rough schedule.

Preliminary Design
The Preliminary and Conceptual Design phase is the brainstorming and exploration stage. It begins with concept diagrams and rough sketches. During this phase we determine the general layout, form and overall appearance of the project and the site. Sketches, drawings and study models are prepared to help evaluate the ideas and concepts and set the final direction for refining the design. In this phase we are focused on the connection between inside space and outside space and how to maximize the building's efficiencies.

During this phase, we distribute sets of initial drawings and specifications to our subcontractors, answer questions, and prepare revisions to the original drawings or specifications. Once the bids are received, we analyze the results and prepare a more refined budget and construction subcontracts.

Detail Design Development
In the Design Development phase, the size, layout and character of the project and site are refined. We design feature elements such as cabinetry, fixtures, floor coverings, and door/window elements. Drawings are prepared that describe the important technical details.   Plans, elevations and sections are developed. Early on in this phase our lead carpenters and major subcontractors are brought in to provide insight and value engineering. This saves a great deal of time that, in a traditional process of designing first and then building, would be wasted redesigning only after a design has first been completed and then found to have problems. This design build integration also saves money by providing input into the design phase from those who know how to streamline the construction process.

Construction Development
Construction Development is the phase where the design is translated into the technical language of the contractor. Working drawings (blueprints) and specifications, which define in detail all of the materials that are to be incorporated into the project, are prepared, where they are to be located and how they are to be installed. Although this phase is primarily intended for working out the technical aspects of the project, some elaboration of design also takes place.

In this stage, the project begins to emerge as something more than concept. Our production department will work with you during this time to make sure that you understand what is happening as things take shape and to answer any questions you may have. The design team will continue to monitor the process to make sure that the design is built as intended.


Benefits of Design-Build

There are a number of benefits of Design-Build.  Ultimately, by using its holistic approach, clients can realize a higher quality, less expensive, and much quicker project.

Undivided Responsibility
Design-Build delivery provides both architecture/engineering and construction resources under a single contract. The owner looks to a single entity responsible for cost control, quality assurance, schedule adherence, and performance of the finished project. This results in clearly fixed responsibility, maximum cost control, and immediate responsiveness.

The client can exercise his desired degree of control over design, with the added advantage of continuously knowing the cost implications of each decision. The client's control of the entire process is strengthened by contracting with a single firm unconditionally committed to the success of his project. It provides a comprehensive view of the project, as opposed to the one-piece-at-a-time method of multiple providers.

The undivided responsibility inherent in design-build serves as a motivation for quality and proper project performance.  The owner's requirements and expectations are documented at the outset and it is the design-build entity's responsibility to produce results accordingly.  There can be no excuses because there is only one firm responsible for the quality of the project.

Early Knowledge Of Costs
The Design-Build team, working closely with the client, accurately conceptualizes the completed project at an early stage. Continuous and concurrent estimating during the development of design results in knowledge of firm, overall cost far sooner than is possible with other approaches. This process also permits making early decisions - which have the greatest impact upon cost - in an informed, cost-based environment.

Time Savings
Design and construction are telescoped, bidding periods and redesign time are eliminated, and long-delivery components are identified and ordered early in the design process. Therefore, total design-construction time is significantly reduced, which translates into earlier utilization of the completed facility.

Dollar Savings
Design and construction personnel, working and communicating as a team, evaluate alternative materials and methods efficiently and accurately. From the outset of the project, both design and construction expertise are brought to bear upon all components of a project, from site work through mechanical and electrical systems. Because cost evaluation is progressively "fed back" into the design process - not after design is complete - decisions affecting cost and design are continuously optimized.

Reduced Administrative Burden
During procurement, the potential exists for design-build to reduce the owners administrative burden.  During actual design and construction, the owner is not required to invest time and money in coordinating and arbitrating between separate design and construction contracts, but rather is able to focus on timely decision making.

Better Contracts
In the Traditional approach of Design-Bid-Build, most contracts are written to anticipate failure of other the parties.  The General Contractor includes provisions and clauses in his contract that exclude any oversight made by the Architect and the Architect takes no responsibility for construction quality and methodology of the General Contractor. 

Conversely, Design-Build contracts are written to promote overall project success. Since the same team is working on both the design and construction, there is no finger pointing about who is responsible for what aspect.  Rather, the focus is on award fees for completing the project and incentives to promote teamwork and collaboration with the client.


Our Team

We have put together some of the leading Design-Build teams in the industry.  With experience in all forms of design and construction, we can fully satisfy our clients' needs from concept through construction. 

Having the privilege of working with renowned architects and designers, including Barton Phelps, FAIA, William Hablinski, AIA, Michael Berman, and Frank Pennino, enables our team to create high-end environments from Armani and the Long Beach Aquarium to multi-million dollar estates in Rolling Hills and Bel Air.   Many of these projects have been featured in magazines such as Architectural Digest, Town and Country and Elle Décor. Houck Incorporated's stunning portfolio conveys our astute attention to detail and insistence on the highest of quality.




Houck Incorporated • 310 235 2800 • 1531 Pontius Avenue Los Angeles CA 90025 • Lic 768547


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