Building projects have different starting points. You might hire out for a set of plans for a structure and contract a company to build it that’s the traditional approach. But today, in the modern age of customization, many project owners want more control. It’s led to a rise in both design-build and turnkey construction.
But what’s the difference between the two? Does it matter? If you’re getting ready to remodel or build in and are trying to figure out the right starting point, it’s best to know the difference between the two concepts. Both give you control over the structure you want to build, but they offer that control in different capacities.
Turnkey construction is a building solution that drastically simplifies things for the owner of the future project. With this type of project, the contractor is given the responsibility for design and construction work. The owner needs only wait for the contractor to get the job done, and then when the project is finished, he or she is able to “turn the key” and start using the new room, building or facility.
The advantage to turnkey construction over other types of contracts is that project owners who are strapped for time won’t have to take an active role in the design, supply purchasing and construction phases. Project owners or employers need only provide access to the site, help with the procurement of licenses and permits, and approve phases of the project as stipulated by the contract.
The contractor is responsible for preparing the design of the home or facility, which eliminates the need for the future owner to hire architects and designers independently.
Instead of the project owner or employer locating and purchasing supplies, the contractor handles this through his or her own network of suppliers. Depending on the type of turnkey contract, the future owner may be able to specify suppliers and materials.
The contractor handles every aspect of construction, from start to finish. This way, the owner doesn’t have to spend time searching for subcontractors and hiring them, nor do they have to take part in the construction itself. Once the building is done, the keys are handed over and the new owner is able to begin using the building or facility.
Design-build construction is aptly named because the same firm does both the designing and the building for your project. Project owners dictate the process, telling the firm exactly what they want, when they want it and how they want it done. If you’re looking for complete control over your building project, it’s often best to work with a design-build firm.
Of course, there’s a dark side to all this control. Design-build projects often take longer and can run over budget if you’re not careful. The ability to make changes and set deadlines often leads owners to overshoot their own expectations. It’s a lot to handle especially if you’re unfamiliar with construction.
Turnkey projects also give owners the control to say what they want and how they want it done. The difference? The construction company provides the project management services, dictating things like schedule and budget allocation. Working with a turnkey company can protect you in case your project hits setbacks—the firm often covers overages, since they fall under project management responsibilities.
Handing off the project management aspect of your job may seem like giving up control, but it’s often well worth it. Not having to worry about overseeing a massive building project is worth the cost alone! Your structure is likely to get built on time, under budget, with an end result that looks exactly like you want it to.
There’s no right answer to this question only preference.
The difference between design-build and turnkey construction comes down to how intimately involved in the building process you want to be. Either way, it’s best to consult at length with a reputable contractor before you break ground.
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