What is Design-Build?


The Design-Build Institute of America defines Design-Build as “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. One entity, one contract, one unified flow of work from initial concept through completion – thereby re-integrating the roles of designer and constructor. Design-build is an alternative to the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method. Under the latter approach, design and construction services are split into separate entities, separate contracts, separate work. Across the country and around the world, design-build successfully delivers both horizontal and vertical construction projects with superior results – no matter what the project type”.

A recent study by Construction Industry Institute at Penn State found that, on average, the Design-Build model reduced construction time by 12% and costs by 6% when compared to the tradition Design-Bid-Build model. Although this study included a significant commercial component, we believe that the results are just as valid – maybe more so – in custom residential construction. That is why a Design–Build option is an important part of what sets Turnstone Custom Homes apart from the others.


“From an architect’s perspective, this was the perfect build with the right team."

McNeil Baker Design Associates, one our Design-Build partners, October 19, 2015


Depending on the novelty and complexity of your project, one of these models may work best for you:

  • If you are starting with a blank slate, our in-house professionals can help you determine the best course of action based upon your goals, your budget, and the constraints and parameters of your lot, as well as jurisdictional requirements.
  • If you already have a house plan in mind, we can modify those plans to meet your exact needs. A licensed professional engineer may or may not be retained, depending on the size and complexity of the home.
  • If you prefer to work with a licensed architect, we will contract with a qualified architect to bundle their services with ours. If you don’t have a preferred architect, we will suggest one with whom we have worked extensively. Even more important than the contractual simplicity is the fact that we are retaining the responsibility to meet your budget and time constraints as the design unfolds. Many a construction budget has been blown up when the architect and the builder are not working hand-in-hand throughout the process to ensure that what the architect is drawing can be built efficiently, and is value-engineered, based on real-world physical and budgetary constraints. That is not a slap at architects – rather an acknowledgment that two very different skill sets must be brought to bear to design and build a unique custom home.
  • If you would like to work with an independent designer, we will contract with a designer, and include the cost of their services in your overall Design- Build budget.

With the Design–Build model the design process, the budget, material selections and scheduling are all being updated in a synchronized fashion. The end result for you – a well-executed project that is on time, on budget and devoid of fire drills.

Want to know more? Arrange a meeting at our Idea Center in Rehoboth Beach Delaware to discuss the model that will work best for you.