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  • Duane C. Barney

Collaborative Construction, the smart approach to residential construction


Residential and commercial construction have two completely different business models, yet we try to package the commercial approach into residential construction. Yes, it is all construction but is like comparing painting a landscape to painting a house, they are both painitng…..?



Commercial construction comes with a VERY detailed set of construction documents, hundreds of pages of drawings with every corner, every section, every pattern thought through and detailed. The specifications for the materials used are equally detailed outlining each product with model number and color predetermined. This package of documents is a commodity that can be accurately priced and can be utilized in a competitive bid between equally qualified contractors. At this point, the only unknown is the estimated management time and fees needed to execute the work.


For residential work, the process is more personal, and it should be, it is your home. Each selection reflects your personality and is not based on the ROI of the investment but the ROI to your lifestyle. Almost every decision has two questions “do I like it?” and “what will it cost?” Add to that, each decision can have a ripple effect of unanticipated costs which leads to, “if I had known I would have never done that”. You are designing your dream in an unnecessary vacuum. “We will see what it costs when we are done with the design”, but why? What is the objective of this approach? To get the lowest price from a contractor. To be honest, this is a convoluted approach as the contractor has no influence on the cost of the work, that is solely based on the selections and the design which were assembled without any input regarding cost.


If you really want a spectacular design that meets your budget objectives, design with cost in mind.

Collaborative Construction, Design, build and construct as a team, the drawings for your new home, renovation, etc. will not be at the same level of detail as a commercial high rise, nor should they be. To achieve this level of detail for residential work is not cost effective and is time-consuming. Plenty of residential projects are designed, priced and never built because construction costs were not reviewed during the design,


Design money is spent, and forever lost, on a dream never realized. The other solution is a redesign, NOW that you have cost input, cut it up and chop it up until you achieve your budget goals. More money spent on design for no reason.


Your pricing resource it ready willing and able

The ultimate objective is construction, so utilize this resource, the contractor is not the pricing enemy, they just deliver the news. Design, build and construct as a team, bring your contractor in during the design process so smart, informed design and selection decisions can be made with the smooth transition into construction and on to completion. It should be easy and fun. We make it difficult because we think it must be this way, but we are painting a landscape.