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  • Writer's pictureSarah Powers

Design-build: A more streamlined interior design experience

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

If you’ve ever undertaken an interior design or renovation project the old-fashioned, design-bid-build way, you as the client had to wear many hats. You had to put on your project manager hat, swap it out for your comptroller hat, and then swap that one for the quality control inspector. If you felt you were being a lot more involved than you should have been, you were right. Design-build project delivery streamlines the process.

What is design-build?

Design-build is a method of project delivery in which one entity – the design-build team – works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services. Design-build makes up nearly half of all non-residential construction today and is quickly gaining a strong foothold in residential projects as well. Unlike the traditional design-bid-build approach, the interior design-build method brings all the resources into one cohesive unit and one contractual entity, giving the client more control over costs, deliverables, time to build-out, and a lot less stress.

Design-build is one-stop shopping at its best

The interior design-build method puts all accountability and line of communication in the hands of a single source who is answerable only to you, the client.

As Arlington, Virginia-based BraePark Design Owner Sarah Powers explains, design-build puts you in control without requiring you to be involved in every step of the process. “We work to ensure our clients are not only delighted with the finished product but also with the process itself. Design-build takes much of the discomfort out of construction and renovations.”

6 top reasons to choose design-build over design-bid-build

One team, one goal. In design-build projects, client and design and construction professionals are one cohesive unit. Challenges are dealt with swiftly and solutions are arrived at together with an eye towards design.

Total accountability. When you work with a design-build interior designer, he or she becomes your one point of contact and is the face and voice for the entire team. The designer is responsible for the project from start to finish, including making sure milestones are met, quality control is rigid, and craftsmanship is paramount. They are also responsible for keeping a keen eye on cost control and keeping within budget parameters established in the design phase.

Keeping the project on track. We’ve all heard about (and you might have even experienced) a renovation project that got out of hand, blew through budgets, took longer than promised, and added unnecessarily to the stress and disruption. Because design-build maps out the project from its very inception until completion, those types of pitfalls are avoided and the process is seamless and coordinated from start to finish.

Owner control. Of course, you want to be a part of your interior design or renovation project, and design-build allows for that without you having to become the project manager on the job site. With this type of collaboration, you retain control over the project, which guarantees your goals will be met—without you having to micro manage each and every minute detail of the project.

Open line of communication. With design-build, you’ll enjoy more transparency throughout the project and frequent communication with your designer to keep you apprised of progress and milestones met. You’ll be kept abreast of challenges (and there are always a few in any construction or renovation project) as well as the solutions to overcome them.

Cost control. The budget you agreed upon when the contract is signed will be the road map that guides the team, so there are few surprises throughout the design-build process. This budget sensitivity from the start is what typically results in a savings of 6 percent of overall project costs.

With 18 years of interior design, construction and project management experience, Interior Designer Sarah Powers fully embraces the design-build method of project delivery and has a talented and competent team of subcontractors that can bring a design to life flawlessly, on budget and on time. To learn more, visit

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