Before Design-Build became popular, the primary method homeowners used to remodel or build a custom home was Design-Bid-Build. This is a method in which you work with one company for design, like an architect, and another for construction, like a builder or general contractor.
Your project starts by finding and hiring an architect to develop your remodeling or custom home plans. When asked, some architects will design the project in a way they believe it can be constructed within your budget.
Once the architect’s plans meet your approval, the architect then prepares a bid package with production specifications. You then put the plans and specifications out to bid to one or more general contractors. Only when the bids come back do you have a clear cost to build the project.
If the bid or bids come in too high, you have two options. You can pay the architect to change the approved plans and specifications and put the new plans out for bid to the the same group of contractors. Or you can have other lower cost, and usually lower quality, contractors bid on the project.
Today, design-bid-build is typically more practical for large to very large single family home projects and commercial projects, whereas design-build is practical for any size single family home remodeling or custom home project.