June 9, 2023


Home Improvement

Adding the ‘you’ factor

2 min read

When it comes to design and build, many people think of one company taking on the role of both architect and builder and letting the homeowner off the hook regarding design decisions. While this may be acceptable in some situations, especially those involving smaller projects, doing so all the time can lead to headaches down the road. You as an owner must be involved in every step of the process, from beginning to end, because it will help create a better outcome and make everyone involved happy with the final results.


Design-and-build projects typically involve extensive collaboration between an architect and master builders or developers, making the process confusing for all parties involved. As a residential architect, you can do several things to make your design-and-build project run smoothly so that you as a client and your design and build team can spend more time focusing on achieving the ultimate goal of your project—your new home. The process of working with a team can be exciting and rewarding, but it’s important to be prepared for every step along the way.


There are a few things to keep in mind when working with architects and builders on design-and-build projects.


Educate yourself

The first step is consulting with a residential architect about your project. Take the time to review their previous work to get an idea of their style and what they’re capable of.


Have a team approach

It’s important to have a team approach. It means involving you as a homeowner in every step of the process, from initial concept to construction completion. Don’t be afraid to provide input and feedback during the design process. Being available and responsive to the team’s questions and requests is important. And trust the team’s expertise and allow them to do their job.


Set clear expectations

You must set clear expectations with your architect builder team from the outset. Also, be clear about your budget and what you can and cannot afford.


Remember that communication is key throughout the entire project. And last, enjoy the process! Making design decisions together is integral to the Box™ process but, once the last tradesperson leaves the site, it’s your time to shine. Going back to visit clients to see how they’ve personalised the spaces is one of the highlights of the design-and-build game. At one gable-roofed house on Omaha Beach in New Zealand, we returned to find that the owners had gone troppo! We love the larger-than-life floral wallpaper mural they used above the kitchen to define the mezzanine, the brightly painted wooden chairs that pick up on the theme and, especially, the pineapple-print scatter cushions that add zesty fun to the built-in retro dining nook.




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