• Duane C. Barney

Collaborative Construction how it can work for you


Collaborative Construction is a management style developed to describe a win-win-win for the client, architect and contractor. The process begins by selecting a team to design and build your project. The selection of the architect and contractor are discussed elsewhere but in summary your architect is selected to best take your dream and develop a scope of work. The contractor is selected based on service, quality and management skills, to construct the scope as drawn, we will discuss pricing in a bit.

The architect is the first lead, selection may or may not come first as it may be a recommendation from your selected contractor but their work and development of a scope, construction documents, is a necessary first step.


The timing for the contractor introduction to the team is vital once pricing becomes a decision criterion.


This can be early on our held off to a bid phase. If brought on early, the contractor will assist in budgeting the project as the design progresses with more details pricing as design details are refined. The contractor can also provide critical input as to implementation that is a driving cost factor that may not be apparent in the design process and can be adjusted accordingly if needed. Compensation for services at this stage for the contractor is reimbursement for their time in pricing the work. The contractor may or may not offer back a credit if they are hired to complete the work. If you choose another contractor at a later stage they will at least have been paid and you received valuable insight for the decision process.


If you choose to hold out for the competitive bid process before you receive pricing input, select three equally qualified contractors. If all three are equal, you should find the pricing to be relatively close in range and your decision will be based on their ability to perform the work.


The best pricing option if you elect to negotiate the price with your contractor is cost of the work plus a fixed fee. This fee will be between 20-30% of the cost for the work and will decrease as the project cost increases to about 11%. The general operating cost for remodeling companies is +/-16% so the range is not unreasonable to cover cost and make a profit. With this format you only pay for the actual cost of the work, each phase can be competitively bid to ensure you are getting the best value.


The advantage to Collaborative Construction is that of teamwork. The entire team is working towards the same objective without an adversarial relationship between team members. All the information, pricing, problems and solutions are the responsibility of each team member to a greater or lesser degree; each working for a reasonable approach and solution.

Questions about how to start your project? We recommend this book as an essential first step.

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