“The Business of Design/Build” highlighted a roundtable discussion among remodelers to follow up on research, sponsored by Andersen Windows, that gauged the influence of design on the American house and explored the extent to which design affects business decisions. Before the roundtables, surveys went to builders, architects, remodelers, and consumers. Highlights of the research are presented here.

Who performed the design work?

It's interesting to note that even in companies that consider themselves design/build, 41% of the owners say they do their own design work.

How do clients contract for design services?

A surprising number of the remodeler respondents said they don't use any kind of design contract.

What are the biggest benefits of participating in design/build?

The benefits of design/build for a remodeler are no surprise —project control, predictability, budget accountability, no bidding wars — but consumers benefit as well. They have a less confrontational experience and the convenience of a single source of responsibility.

What is the minimum size project for a design/build approach?

Remodeler respondents overwhelmingly saw no project too small for their design services.

What is the most common resistance to design/build?

Cost is a major factor in customer resistance to design/build services, with customers expecting design ideas and cost estimates for free. Yet remodelers — even those who profess to work as design/build firms — comply by offering clients free designs.

How are design fees billed?

Remodelers and homeowners appear to disagree on how design is paid for. Their responses are close when asked about billing as a percentage of construction cost, but there's a disconnect for other billing methods. Especially stark is the contrast between the 29% of remodelers who say they don't charge a fee and the 47% of customers who say the design was free.