London’s Leading Design and Build Contract Company
Providing a complete service, encompassing all of the design and construction aspects of a build, is very much the modern approach adopted in the construction industry. It is our preferred model for meeting the needs of both commercial and residential clients.
Our all-inclusive service means that we can provide you with everything you need, from the design stage to the final signing off of the build. Our offer includes all the resources necessary for designing your project, the preparation of architectural drawings, navigation through Building Regulation and Planning Permission procedures and the provision of structural engineering expertise. Our experienced and highly skilled builders will turn your designs into a reality, and our project managers will ensure that everything proceeds as planned.
1. Free, no-obligation site visit
This is the opportunity for us to get to know you, and to form a picture of your precise requirements. It is also the time for you to get answers to any questions you might have.
2. Feasibility assessment
The next step will be for us to make a closer analysis of your proposed project. Our assessment will be informed with photographs and detailed measurements. We will also carefully consider any legal issues that might be involved, and, importantly, we will assess whether your proposed budget is realistic for the envisaged work.
3. Concept Design
Our design team will turn your ideas and aspirations into an outstanding concept design, which meets all functional requirements, at a price you can afford.
4. Planning drawings & consents
We will assess the Planning Permission requirements of your proposed project. If any permissions are required, then there is no need for you to worry, as we can take care of this aspect of the process on your behalf. We are confident of obtaining the necessary consent, given our record of having achieved acceptance of Planning Permission on the first application on 97% of occasions.
5. Building regulations & engineering
As part of our service, we will make sure that all aspects of the build comply with all current Building Regulations. As with any required planning consent, we can manage the process of obtaining any necessary approvals from Building Control.
6. Construction plans & specifications
Our building team works with complete precision, following construction plans to the last millimetre, and providing the fixtures & fittings and finishes that exactly match your expectations.
WHAT IS DESIGN & BUILD COMPANY?
The Design & Build concept is a means of combining two specialist skills into one, precluding the need to engage two separate companies. This streamlines the whole process, saving both time and costs.
HOW DOES DESIGN & BUILD WORK?
Our Architects, and Architectural designers will create drawings and plans on your behalf, and our builders who will turn your ideas into a reality, are employed by our firm. That means that they share a common working culture, and actually work under the same roof, which speeds up the whole sequential process. This is achieved by minimising the delays between successive stages of a project; in fact, through teamwork, some tasks can be overlapped. Not having to await sign-off for a stage in order to permit the next task to begin can take time out of the process. This advantage is most keenly felt in the transition between the planning and building phases; using a traditional approach, following the approval of plans, there is often a delay of several days, or maybe weeks, during which quotations are requested and received from building contractors. We estimate that this reduces the time taken by some projects by up to 40%. Also, having to deal with a single company throughout the whole process is far easier for you, especially if an issue might arise, in which case responsibility cannot be shifted from one party to another.
Our integrated Design & Build service can also cut costs for you, in that all of the professionals involved can buy into the need to observe the project budget. For example, if different firms are entrusted with individual stages of the process, then whoever is responsible for the design solution will not have a vested interest in ensuring the cost of the later stages being cost-effective. An architect might design an extension that is aesthetically very pleasing, only to give the builder the problem of delivering the build within budget further down the line. The alternative is for the designers and the builders to collaborate as part of an integrated service, in a price-conscious team effort. This collaboration also makes it possible for the cost and supply of materials to be checked at the design stage, so that the client to be provided with a very accurate cost estimate, which can then be used as a fixed price for the work. Needless to say, one thing that is certainly minimised with a Design & Build company is the time and cost involved with administration and communication activities, both within the core team and with any necessary subcontractors. Another important aspect of a Design & Build service is that a dedicated project manager can oversee the whole process, and so be responsible for sourcing building materials, liaising with suppliers and procuring the services of subcontractors. This is far more efficient than the client having to deal with a number of different parties, and is far less stressful.
This process also ensures that everything that is designed into the initial plans is technically feasible and free from any logistical difficulties, and there are particular advantages in the event of any desired or enforced change to the original plans, since the overall project manager is readily able to discuss any changes with all of the professions involved. Furthermore, what Design & Build companies find is that the skilled specialists working together within a larger team develop an understanding of the role and perspectives of the other players within that team, so this avoids any conflicts caused by, say, an architect not fully appreciating the problems that builders have to deal with. By the same token, the design arm of a Design & Build team will be aware of the experience and capabilities of the builders, enabling them to fully take advantage of the talents that their colleagues in the building trade possess. This familiarity also avoids the possibility of those involved in the construction stage of a project having to work to a set of plans and a specification that does not match their level of competence. This considerably reduces the risk of misunderstandings occurring between the different trades and professions. Importantly, it eliminates the danger of any dispute between parties involved in the project escalating into an expensive litigation battle.
Some Design & Build companies will further strengthen the service they offer by including engineers as part of their core team. An advantage of having qualified engineers on board is that they will complement the skills possessed by architects and builders, and will be able to contribute to ensuring both the technical and structural feasibility of a project, and its cost-effectiveness. A good engineer will be able to advise on how an architect’s design vision can be achieved using the least expensive materials, for example. A further advantage of having engineering expertise in-house is experienced at the stage of creating accurate drawings and plans for the purpose of obtaining planning permission and conforming to Building Regulations. Having such engineering knowledge available can also maximise the probability of foreseeing potential planning permission issues, and so maximise the possibility of obtaining consent on the first application. The combined experience of a Design & Build team will have developed an in-depth knowledge of the requirements of your local authority’s planning department. The team will also be a powerful ally in the event of there being opposition to your planning application, or if permission is granted subject to certain conditions. A good Design & Build firm will actually liaise with your local planning authority on your behalf.
Will a Design & Build company be able to help with obtaining planning permission and building regulations approval?
It is usually part of our Design & Build package for the multi-disciplinary team of experts to ensure that all aspects of your project comply with planning and building regulations. The team will have an in-depth understanding of your local authority planning department’s expectations in relation to granting planning consent for a build. This maximises the probability of your project receiving first-time planning approval, and you will also have all of this expertise on your side during negotiations, should the local authority initially refuse permission or attach conditions to its consent. Some Design & Build companies might actually consult your local planners and/or Building Control officers whilst drawing up project plans on your behalf.
What are the various stages involved in the Design & Build process?
There are four Design & Build stages, some of which can be scheduled to overlap:
1. The initial appraisal. This involves understanding your needs and aspirations, and then advising you on how these can best be met by your project.
2. The design stage. The important next step is to transform your vision into a series of detailed drawings and images. This can be done in the form of simple concept sketches, or more formal drafted architectural and engineering plans. Modern techniques such as 3D drawings and computerised ‘walk throughs’ might also be used.
3. Procurement. Once your requirements are finalised, a detailed specification needs to be produced of the skills, materials and fixtures & fittings that are needed. This will enable all that is required to be priced up and then procured.
4. The build. This is the main phase of the project, during which your dreams and plans become a reality.
Will a Design & Build company provide ALL of the services that I require?
Yes. Normally, the company will be set up to have all of the skills and infrastructure needed, and will take care of procuring any additional specialist skills that might be required. Whatever happens, you will always have a single point of contact, and this will usually be your dedicated Project Manager.
Are there any circumstances in which it is advisable to deal with more than one contractor, instead of a single Design & Build company?
Not really, as the advantages of dealing with a single company with a multi-disciplinary team of professionals hold good for construction projects of any size and nature. It is important, however, that the Design & Build company that you choose has all of the skills and expertise that you need.
Will it be possible for me to make changes to my plans after they have been drafted?
Yes. In fact, it is easier to make changes to your plans when you are working with the same team for all stages of a project, especially when the Design & Build company you choose has all of its team members working under the same roof. If you settle your account with an architectural company after the drawing up of your plans, for example, and then agree with your builder that some changes are necessary, then there can be problems involved with returning to the architect to make these alterations.
Can using a Design & Build company really save me time and money?
Certainly. Your project can certainly be delivered more quickly with a multi-skilled Design & Build team, because of the benefits of being able to schedule some tasks to overlap. In fact, overall, the time taken to complete an integrated Design & Build project can be 40% less than the time taken to do the same work using old-fashioned, sequential scheduling. Obviously, this more efficient way of working will have consequent financial benefits. One estimate is that the total cost of a project can be reduced by at least 6.1% using a Design & Build contractor (Victor Sanvido and Mark Konchar, Pennsylvania State University). Such savings mean that more of your budget can be spent on the important things, such as the quality and specification of your build.
Will procuring the services of a Design & Build company mean that I relinquish control of my project?
On the contrary. The whole ethos of Design & Build is to provide the client with more control over a project, and this is done through the strength of the relationship that you will develop with a single company. Your needs and aspirations will be readily understood by a Design & Build team, but it might be hard work conveying your vision and your priorities to professionals working on different aspects the project, in isolation. It is the responsibility of your dedicated project manager to ensure that your requirements are properly communicated throughout the team. He or she will also be proactive in reporting to you on progress on the build, and generally maintain a relationship with you that will provide continuity throughout the project.
What are the most important things to remember in relation to the Design & Build model?
When it comes to Design & Build, there are FIVE important principles:
1. Take plenty of time to choose the right Design & Build company. An important opportunity for doing this is during the discussion held when the company makes its initial site visit. The company’s representative will be keen to provide you with a great deal of advice on how you might go about realising your aspirations, and on the ways in which your project can be delivered to suit your budget, but it is important for you to feel that you will be comfortable with working with the company.
2. Help the Design & Build company by giving them as much information about your project as possible. This will help the company to deliver on your expectations. Anything that clarifies or illustrates your thoughts and dreams will be valuable, so don’t be afraid to use drawings, photographs and other visual aids to describe what you hope to achieve.
3. Choose a company that can the confidence to provide you with guarantees as to their standard of workmanship, their timeliness and their ability to complete the job within your stated budget. It is possible to have an agreement for a series of ‘back-stops’. For example, it can be written into the contract that the company will be obliged to pay a set compensation sum for every day that the project continues beyond a given date. This will reduce the stress of uncertainty that you will experience during the project.
4. Be sure that part of your agreement is that you are assigned a dedicated Project Manager who will oversee all aspects of the project and serve as your first point of contact.
5. Before you make a final decision on which Design & Build company you work with, research previous projects that the company has carried out and delivered successfully, and study testimonials, reviews and other feedback provided by the company’s past clients.
Our talented Project Managers oversee the entire project process, making sure that everything progresses smoothly, whilst liaising with you to ensure that you remain involved. In addition, you can monitor progress using our dedicated online portal.
How we manage your project
Ensuring a tightly-orchestrated build which is fast and seamless whilst keeping you informed and in control.
What are the advantages of the Design & Build concept?
by performing tasks concurrently, rather than having to hire individual companies to carry out tasks sequentially. A Design & Build approach can complete a project 40% faster than using trades separately.
through efficiencies derived from the close working relationship and cooperation between members of an established Design & Build team.
IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF THE BUILD
because our team of talented individuals is used to working together. The synergies within the team promote innovative ideas and inspiration.
MAKE LIFE EASIER
for yourself by leaving all aspects of the project to us. Also, with just one firm to deal with, it is very easy for you to monitor progress on the build.
Our Building and Construction Capabilities – What we can do for you
DBL offer a wide breadth of services that cover the entire project lifecycle, allowing us to support you with intelligence and innovation on every project.
From concept to completion, we’ve got you covered. Our wide range of capabilities means you’ll always have our in-depth expertise, experience and know-how at your disposal.
This is a measure of both the loyalty of our customers and the likelihood of them recommending us to others.
This is a measure of how many of our customers come back and use our services again.
This expresses the proportion of our business that results from referrals from previous clients.