The Contractor Versus Designer Myth

The Contractor Versus Designer Myth

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the impacts of the global pandemic on the US economy, there are some aspects of commercial real estate development that remain unchanged. As a developer you will always be looking for strategies that will protect your capital and maximize profit.

Unfortunately, much of the time great design seems to be at odds with these goals. Often it seems as if the intentions of the designer are pitted against the cost saving strategies provided by contractors as developers seek to get the most out of their investment.

This is not the way it ought to be. During building design and construction, developers should be able to rely on designers and contractors alike to work together and devise affordable solutions that maximize ROI.

Designer and Contractor Stereotypes

The stereotypical designer has an ego. Their main focus is creating a work of art to feature in their portfolio and receive recognition from their peers. They want your project to essentially become the next Taj Mahal.

On the other hand, the contractor stereotype is cheap and cuts corners as they aggressively seek to cut costs. Their main concern is their bottom line and getting away with less work. They want your project to run quickly and smoothly so they can cash in and move on to the next one.

Getting your project done right begins with rejecting these widely held, but oversimplified ideas that are common in our industry. Most of the time, these assumptions made about designers and contractors are simply untrue. But they continue to impede creativity and practicality on developments across the country.

Part of the Same Team

Designers and contractors are members of the same team – your team. You will get the best results as you enable them to establish a great working relationship. The best thing you can do as a developer is to have the designer and contractor together in the same room from the onset of your project. As they gain confidence in each other and begin to collaborate, you can rely on them to help you get the best results possible – without having to mediate potential conflicts down the line.

As contractors and designers work together and are on the same page, you’ll get one consistent view of what needs to happen on your project. If you counsel with them separately you may end up with confusion at best and contradictions and finger pointing at worst as you try and sort through the details and costs.

Our approach at Loft Six Four is to develop a connection with contractors right away. We view them as our teammate in offering you the best design services and built outcomes possible. We’ll gladly introduce ourselves to the contractor and work together with them to make your life easier. We feel that, in the end, it really doesn’t matter who was right about any particular decision. All that matters is that we reach the right conclusion that everyone can get behind and feel good about.

Better Design at a Better Price

Getting great design without sacrificing ROI begins with understanding cost and setting realistic budgets from the start. We like to reach out to our contacts for rough pricing, detailing, and early info as we begin design work. The solid relationships we have built with contractors in the past make them willing to help us out with general questions whether or not they are on the project.

When it comes to the bidding process, Loft Six Four takes a hands-on approach. We’ll provide a list upfront of our preferred specialty contractors that we know can execute our custom designs at a competitive price. We’re experienced in getting bids, making introductions, reviewing bids, and carefully and creatively adjusting our plans based on expert contractor feedback. We can be involved in the process as much as you would like. But our experience has been that the more we work closely with the contractor, the better the conclusion.

We’re not afraid of value engineering – as long as it is done right. We like to have the developer and the contractor meet with us together as we go over the plans. As we orchestrate creative conversations instead of combative ones, everyone benefits. We get the practical insights from the contractor while they better understand design intent and vision. In the end, you win big because finally, you get the well-built, creative design you were looking for at the right price.

Results that will Knock Your Socks Off

The final stage of our Loft Six Four Method is focused on delivering and celebrating a final project that exceeds your expectations. Critical to that purpose is successful coordination and collaboration with the contractor.

We work with professionalism through the proper channels as we carry out construction administration. Whether it is managing change orders, performing punch list reviews or substantial completion, we are committed to ensuring that the contractor has all of the information they need to do their part. 

It’s exciting to see a project through from design through construction. And it is satisfying to know that our design is providing great experiences for your tenants and helping your development reach success.

Looking for better design at a better price? We’re here for you. Let’s talk!