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Freedom General Contracting, Inc.
Freedom General Contracting, Inc.

Summer is just around the corner and entertaining outside is one of the advantages of such nice weather. It’s also a great time to develop a few indoor projects and Freedom General Contracting, Inc. can make sure your dream comes to life.

We spoke with Stephen Turbyfill, President of Freedom General Contracting, Inc., to learn more about the design/build process at his company as well as some of the benefits homeowners receive when working with a design/build company. 

What is the design/build process and how do you make it work for each client?
Design/build is a project delivery method used by contractors who begin with the end in mind, not the beginning. So, it’s really a process for preplanning a project the customer is committed to doing, based on an agreed to realistic budget, and is only possible with a clear understanding of the purposes/reason for the renovations as well as how clients plan to make decisions about their project. Unlike other processes/methods, all this happens prior  to any designing/estimating. Without agreeing to these important things before the process begins, there is the risk that the design may not serve the customers purpose, will be beyond their budget and or may not give the information needed to make confident decisions. Typically, with this method you commit to one contractor without needing to “bid out” to several contractors. So, you need to be  confident about working with the design/build company before you commit. A referral from a past client might be the best way to be sure.

Why should clients determine a comfortable budget before designing a project?
Using traditional methods, the architect/ designer gets paid to do the design, and everyone hopes it meets the purpose and budget. However, if after getting pricing from contractors that design does not meet the  purpose/budget, the customer must pay the designer to re-design it and hope contractors will price it out again. This approach can cause lost time and money, often giving homeowners a bad/frustrating experience from the beginning, especially when you find out you can’t afford the first design that you really loved, and now you must settle for less.

What might be some of the benefits consumers could enjoy if they go with a real design/build project delivery method?
Here are four of many benefits for the customer and project alike:

Single-Source Responsibility
Past customers have shared with us the most appealing and easy to recognize advantage is that design/build offered them the convenience/comfort of one-stop shopping. They also liked that a single entity took full responsibility for design, construction and satisfactory completion/delivery of their project. With true design/build,  it eliminates finger pointing between the contractor and the designer.

Cost Control
Trust is the key, so provided that a realistic budget was established and agreed upon prior to entering into a design/build agreement, the company takes ownership of protecting the budget as design happens. Therefore, savings/budget control can be achieved through value engineering as the project is in development. During the entire process the customer can exercise their desired degree of control over the design, with the advantage of knowing the cost implications of each decision as the design happens.

Quality Control
With real design/build, the quality of the project happens automatically because the design/builder’s team is working “together” with the client as all this happens. The designer and contractor are able to focus on making sure the project meets the customers’ purpose and budget, not just a design. The combined expertise of the contractor and design professional are weaved together to produce the best value for the customer. This is something that is often compromised when both are working independently.

Quicker Delivery
A big advantage is working with a single source for everything that is needed, rather than separately with a contractor, an architect, an engineer and subcontractors. Waiting for contractors to get back to you, redesign time and the related costs are eliminated. Overall time to design and build the project is substantially reduced because design and construction activities overlap. Also, the contractor can proceed by early securing critical materials with extended lead times and can pre-schedule the required labor and licensed trade subcontractors for a quicker start. This means the  project can be on the contractor’s schedule earlier and the customer can enjoy the new space much sooner as a result. This can be helpful for example if trying to meet a specific date, a new baby or an elderly loved one will be using the new space.

Freedom General Contracting, Inc.
Doylestown, Pa. | (215) 794-0326 | FreedomGCI.com

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 19, Issue 11 (May 2019). 
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