courtesy Shorieh Talaat

Back in 1989, Shorieh Talaat was still at the University of Maryland School of Architecture when he was named Big50 as owner of design/build company Talaat Design Associates, in Burtonsville, Md. When he received his architecture license in 1993, he changed the company’s name, let go of his construction employees, and focused on design.

Now, Talaat Architects has three architects, including Talaat, and works closely with contractors. “It’s close to being design/build without being design/build,” he says. “We bring in contractors as early as schematics and feasibility, and work with client and contractor to develop an outline of the scope of work to get an idea of probable costs.”

Talaat says that it was helpful having been a remodeler and having knowledge not just of “operations but of the way the construction business works. It’s easy for me to translate and explain things to clients, like why a change order is a change order — what’s involved with time and cost.”

Talaat uses building information modeling (BIM) software, recognizing the advantages it provides in collaboration with contractors and consultants. Though this approach allows him closer involvement with all the parties as a project develops, he says that he still sometimes misses the building aspect of design/build.