Home builders come in all flavors, production builders, semi-custom, and fully custom builders. Production builders build a few styles of homes, with few if any input from the purchasers. There homes are standardized and usually built in a subdivision – almost never on a lot owned by the homeowner. Standardization allows for efficiency and much division of supervision in the building process. Any individual field superintendent can build many homes at the same time, thus lowering overhead costs. Semi-custom builders may or may not be willing to build on a clients lot, but they do offer customization of their own plans. Some may even be willing to build a completely custom home, but it is more common for the process to be one of altering one of the builders standard plans.
Of the custom builders some are Design/Build style builders. These builders approach the process of creating a new home on a very individual basis. Each home is different and the design is arrived at but the client and the builder/designer working together. The builder takes the responsibility for the project from inception to completion including the design and plan creation. There is a distinct advantage called single source responsibility to working with this style of builder if you desire a truly custom home.
Single source responsibility means combining in house design with the responsibility for the construction of the home from the original concept through the completion of the home. There are fewer lines of communication and fewer opportunities for misunderstandings between the parties. The biggest advantage to you is that you are never in the position of being a mediator between the designer and the contractor.
Another big advantage is that the design process is constrained by practical knowledge of the cost and budget. If lessens the possibility of a design that is too expensive because the designer/builder can keep the budget in mind during the entire design process and not over design. Frequently, during the design process, cost gathering is also taking place which will further guide the design and greatly speeds up the entire process.
While some people think that this is a more expensive way to go, it usually isn’t. There are few economies of scale in residential construction other than those enjoyed by production builders. But the biggest savings is in not over designing the home in the first place.
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