What is Design/Build?

When you think about design/build construction, perhaps what comes to mind is a two-part process of creating a home or other structure: the design and then the actual construction — and you’d be right. This concept takes into consideration the initial design, budget and the performance or follow-through of the plan, all by one firm. This firm typically provides the owner with the plans for a seamless process, putting their best interests at the forefront.

As one of the leading design/build companies and construction companies in Duluth, MN, Lakeside Advanced Builders is proud to offer our services clients looking to have their home built from the ground up. We address energy efficiency and energy modeling in our projects. With an entire team of experienced and committed design/build contractors on board, no job is too big or too difficult for us to handle.



Design/build isn’t the only option when it comes to construction. In some cases, a project may involve a plan and bid procedure performed by separate entities. Architects come up with the specs, while general contractors bid on the project and the winner performs it. Unfortunately, this process encourages all bidders to put their own interests first rather than the owner’s. The result? These contractors may take short cuts, using lower quality materials and quicker construction processes in order to submit the lowest bid.  With this approach, you also get two separate contracts for the design and construction, which takes power away from the owner whose only recourse if things go south is to incur litigation. Thus, responsibility and cause become gray areas in terms of the separate entities of designers and contractors, making it unclear who is to blame. With a separate architect and contractor, different ideas, specs, plans and visions are at stake, and sometimes these dichotomies clash. Lastly, this way of completing a project tends to be much slower than a design/build approach, resulting in a timeline that goes way beyond what was initially expected by the client.

Critical Points

To achieve a superior overall project, there are several important points that must be covered. First off, the budget outlines the scope of the project, based off other similar projects of the same magnitude. When the cost and fee structure is known early in the process, this discourages the addition of further costs down the line. Conversely, when plans are set independently, the actual cost of construction can exceed the budget by 60 percent or more. Sadly, these final costs are not realized until the project is well underway. With just one contract as opposed to two, you’ve also got a more cohesive work unit between designer and contractor, ensuring that both entities work in tandem for the smoothest — and quickest — results.

Benefits of Design/Build

plansThere are many benefits to the design/build partnership — not the least of which is a short timeline for completion. This means there are fewer meetings needed because the owner doesn’t have to confer with many separate individuals over the course of the project. Budgets can be set early on so that they’re well known throughout the project with no surprises cropping up later. Another advantage to the design/build process is that the owner is involved in all decisions, bringing him or her into the fold during every step. As a result of this well-defined plan and seamless involvement, there is less risk for problems arising along the way. Virtually no change orders are necessary unless all parties agree to an overall change in scope. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder the design/build process helps owners complete their project on budget and on time. Partnering with a design/build firm that’s experienced in your type of project — such as energy efficient projects — is key in ensuring all goes according to plan. Lakeside Advanced Builders can achieve that seamless balance as a certified Passive House Builder, a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Envelope specialist, and a Blow In Blanket System (BIBS) installer dedicated to making homes as energy efficient as possible.

If you are looking for the best design/build contractors in Duluth, look no further than the ones with Lakeside Advanced Builders. We always address energy efficiency in our projects. Although we are located in Duluth, MN, we are more than happy to offer our services throughout the Twin Ports Area, as well as the entirety of Northern Minnesota and Northern Wisconsin.

To learn more about our design/build services, please call +715 364 2805 or +715 816 4062. You may also send us a message by filling out the form on our Contact Us page.