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.
Design Build Model: Integrated services with one contract and a single point of contact.
With Design-build, the Condo Corporation needs only to work with one entity and all work is performed under a single point of contact (and a single contract)
Benefits: Savings can be realized when designers work closely with trusted contractors. Contractors often have up-to-the-minute supply and trade cost knowledge and there are less unknowns when putting together a final scope. Major efficiencies are realized with communication, scheduling and decision-making. Material selection is made with the input of a knowledgeable contractor for a greater chance of successful adoption of first version.
Challenges – because the designer works so closely with the contractor, the arms’-length transparency and accountability is reduced. In this case the trust factor needs to be higher, and it is more important to go with a reputable firm (or partnership), rather than a small design firm or freelancer and separate contractor who may be lower cost separately.