The Power of Production in Design + Build

When embarking on a remodeling project, most homeowners are familiar with the traditional and separate design and construction processes. Historically, a homeowner would hire a Designer or Architect to work with them to plan the design and remodel of their home, and then once the plans are complete, would hire an independent Contractor to oversee the construction phase of the project. If all went well, the work of the Designer would translate seamlessly into the construction phase with the Contractor. If the project didn’t go well, the finger pointing between the Designer, Contractor, and homeowner would begin.

For the last several decades, a concept in remodeling has gained traction and acceptance as a successful remodeling approach: It’s referred to as Design + Build, where both aspects of remodeling, Design and Construction, are provided by one single source. With today’s Design + Build firms, you typically find a Certified Design Team and Licensed General Contractor in one company, commissioned under one contract, working together as a team. The goal of the Design + Build concept is to plan and execute a remodeling project with greater precision, a more predictable outcome, and collaboration along the way.

According to Harrell Design + Build’s Production Manager, Gary Gray, the Production Team plays an integral role throughout every project, even in the design phase, and long before the permit is pulled or any ground is broken.

“Production’s goal is to create predictability and continuity for each remodeling project,” Gary describes. “We take the time to explore the project up front, collaborate with the entire Harrell Design + Build team, and plan the project to eliminate surprises, and to also maintain steady workflow.”

At Harrell Design + Build, the Production and Design Teams work hand-in-hand from the outset, and especially as the proposed design becomes more solidified. That’s when Gary and team begin to focus in earnest to explore feasibility, buildability, sequencing of work, coordination among trade specialists like structural engineers, electricians, plumbers, roofers, heating and air specialists, drywall installers, and they also factor in city inspections. During this pre-production phase, the team looks at everything necessary to anticipate and plan for a successful project outcome.

Gary explains the important role production plays before the very first hammer is swung. Gary emphasizes that, “Our Project Managers and Production Team play a pivotal role from the beginning of every project, from design through demo, and then continuing through the build, and even into the final punch-list phase.”

Exploration of the existing space is important to quantify the unknown. Visiting the client’s home to assess the site and existing conditions is vital to unearth and quantify as many potential issues as possible. The Production Team explores attics, basements, crawl spaces, and in some cases even looks inside the walls. We look at plumbing, electrical, potential structural issues as well as the existing overall condition of the areas where work will be performed. The goal: to identify and address issues that may come into play once the construction begins.

Once a thorough examination of the current home is complete, the Production Team, along with the Designer and Estimator, collaborate to present a range of possibilities and associated costs so clients can make informed decisions. “By conducting this initial investigative stage, we can usually uncover and plan for issues that would have been a surprise during construction. This keeps unexpected costs down, the project on budget, and the client feels informed and in charge,” Gary conveys. Gary notes that Harrell Design + Build’s “unknown conditions” change orders are a tenth of the national average and the company attributes that low percentage to the exploration that is done up front.

Gary explains that the production process is forward-thinking: planning for client’s anticipated needs, (such as the installation of an electric car charger, or knowing a client’s desire for additional square footage) are thoughtfully considered. Advanced planning can save time and money down the road.

Once design is complete and the build phase begins, the Production Team takes over the daily management of the project. With permits in hand, a Project or Site Manager deploys the team of trade specialists to make the plans a reality and make the client’s dream come to life.

Armed with all the details worked out in the design phase, the Production Team then creates a preliminary build calendar, which outlines the entire remodeling project from beginning to end. This calendar shows which trade specialists will be conducting work, when and for how long. It also takes into account holidays, client schedules, and necessary inspections. The sequencing of work is carefully considered and factored into the plans and schedule.

Clients can view this calendar at any time using a mobile app (or cloud-based website), ensuring they are aware of what tasks are happening at their home, and what is coming up next. The calendar is a working document, meaning it will be amended as the project progresses, but it is a vital collaborative tool used by the entire Harrell Design + Build team to keep the project on track, and on budget.

In addition to creating the build calendar, every remodeling project is assigned a dedicated Lead Carpenter, or Site Manager. This person is on the job site daily and manages the trade specialists, oversees the work, meets with inspectors, utility personnel and structural engineers, and addresses any issues that may arise in construction.

Once the project nears completion, the Production Team oversees the final inspection, and walks through the project with the client to create a “punch list” of any items that need fine-tuning. While Harrell strives to have no items on this punch list, when this list is cleared, the project is complete. Our Warranty Specialist manages the warranty phase and attends to and resolves any issues that come up after the completion of the job.

“The Production Team is part of the process all along the way. We do our best to leave nothing to chance. We explore, plan, schedule, collaborate, and communicate,” Gary states. “It’s all about keeping the work flowing, keeping a critical eye in all areas, maintaining the utmost quality, craftsmanship, and in the end, it is all about delivering on superior client satisfaction for which Harrell Design + Build is known.”

Are you considering an addition or remodel to your Silicon Valley or Peninsula home? We invite you to contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation and let the Design + Build team at Harrell Design + Build work with you to transform your home today.