Design First Model: Engage Design Consulting services separately, then a General Contractor.
In this model, the Board selects a designer to select materials, set the budget, create the specifications and supply a specifications package back to the board. The Board then selects a contractor to execute the project using the designers specifications.
Benefits – The design consultant will work with the board to set the general budget and create a vision for the project that residents can vote on or envision. There is arms’-length distance with the contractor for transparency and accountability. Costs are selected based on market rates for labour and materials.
Challenges – The Board must go through the exercise of finding a designer and a contractor separately, and this can be a daunting task. Also, there are two contracts to manage and separate agreements with different service providers who won’t talk to one another. Sometimes specifications for materials are not favoured by a trade who is unfamiliar with its installation. Communication between designer and contractor is reduced or non-existent. Often substitutions have to be made or budgets are revised, resulting in delays.