Deciding to renovate your home is one of the most important decisions you will ever make and all the choices can be rather daunting.
TV shows, magazines and websites are saturated with home design projects. They make it look so easy, isn’t it wonderful that you can remodel an entire house in one week. The reality of reality TV is miss representing what it really takes to remodel a kitchen, bathroom or add an addition to a real house. The true cost and the effort that the homeowner and designer have put into a project is often understated and although they all talk about the “budget” or show the “final price”, the true cost of these projects is distorted by ignoring do-it-yourself labor costs and unforeseen or concealed costs. This is all great entertainment, the reality is that tackling a remodeling project is hard work and the devil is in the details.
Outstanding remodeling projects are based on creative designs executed accurately, traditionally this has been accomplished with an Architect or Interior Designer who prepares plans that are then bid out to contractors for the lowest price. As long as you have an unlimited budget and like surprises this approach works OK. The reality is that most folks have a budget and unless the designer is focused on that budget and understands the true costs of what they are designing projects are over budget and impossible for the homeowner to build, so back to the drawing board for some value engineering. Architects and designers just don’t have the grounding in costs that contractors do.
You can’t just hire a contractors either. Many ugly additions have been built without the input of a designer and it shows. Successful remodeling projects need a sound, creative design that is based on a budget the homeowner can afford.
What’s a homeowner to do?
The simple solution to this dilemma is “Design Build”. In response to the problems that the traditional Architect/Contractor approach to remodeling creates leaders in the industry have refined a process that brings together a team of designers and contractors into one entity.
What is Design Build and how is it different?
Design Build remodeling firms provide a one stop experience, the same firm is responsible for designing a project that meets your budget and design goals. Designers in these firms understand how each line drawn on a plan translates into a cost of construction. No more finger pointing, one person/firm is responsible to the client.
Merrick Design and Build, Inc. is one of those firms.
Merrick Design and Build, Inc. was founded in 1989 by David Merrick, an architectural student who saw the flaws in the traditional remodeling process and knew things could be done better. David left the Boston Architectural Center in the 1970’s, determined to make the Design Build process work. Now the owner of an award winning Design Build firm in Kensington, Maryland, David is considered by many to be an expert on the Design Build Advantage. By following his company’s process, we can examine just how the Design Build system can work for you.
Great design begins with great communication. The first step in the Merrick process is meeting with you in your home, seeing your kitchen or bath, hearing what you love, but more importantly what you don’t love about it. If the space is too small, remodeling the existing space may not be enough. Merrick helps homeowners evaluate whether an addition is possible, how large it should be in relationship to the rest of the home, and most importantly, how much it would cost.
Design and budget goals are conceptualized in a Design Agreement. Measurements are taken and the design team begins bringing your vision to life using a 3D architectural computer program. The Merrick Design Build approach brings the client to a decision of “feasibility”. Can you build what you want to build for the budget you have set and what does it look like? This step is crucial to the Design Build process before spending thousands of dollars on a permit ready set of plans.
The Merrick feasibility budget includes a thorough inspection of your home and project by Merrick’s strategic partners; plumbers, electricians, HVAC specialists, and its own craftsmen, review the plans and specifications on site and uncover the unexpected before they become problems. Our construction team and designers work together to make sure we are designing a project that satisfies your project goals and budget.
Once this decision on feasibility is made permit plans and product selections are completed and the project is ready for construction. Every detail is worked out in advance before a shovel hits the ground. Production Managers, Carpenters, Designers and Merrick’s strategic partners, work with you throughout construction as ONE TEAM.
Merrick is so successful with this approach that customers turn to Merrick for all their homes’ needs. So much so that David Merrick has developed a Home Repair Service to handle all their projects, both big and small.
Many firms now call themselves Design Build but few understand the process or are as passionate about Design Build the way Merrick does. If you are considering updating your home Design Build is certainly the most affective, goal and budget focused approach.