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  • Writer's pictureDavid Hauser

Transitioning from Architectural Designer to Design+Build Company: Challenges and Solutions

As an architectural designer for many years, I provided my clients with architectural design and drawings. However, I soon realized that my clients needed more than just drawings. They needed someone who could take their project from design to completion. That's when I decided to transition my business into a full design+build company. While this was a natural progression for my business, it wasn't without its challenges. Let me share with you some of the hurdles that I faced during this transition.


The first challenge that I encountered was the learning curve related to design and actual construction cost. As an architectural designer, I had a good understanding of design and aesthetics, but I had limited knowledge of actual construction costs. I quickly learned that my design decisions could have a significant impact on the project's overall cost. In order to provide accurate estimates to my clients, I had to learn about construction materials, labor costs, and other factors that affect the project's cost. This required a significant investment of time and effort on my part, but it was necessary to ensure that my estimates were accurate and my clients were satisfied with the final result.


The second challenge was timelines. As an architectural designer, my focus was on the design process, and timelines were often more flexible. However, as a design+build company, I now had to manage both the design and construction timelines. This required me to be more organized and efficient in my project management approach. I had to ensure that the design and construction teams were working together seamlessly to keep the project on track and on schedule.


The third challenge that I faced was the learning curve related to how to properly qualify clients on the long build process ahead. As an architectural designer, my clients were often interested in a single design project, and the relationship ended once the design was complete. However, as a design+build company, my clients were now committing to a long build process. This meant that I had to educate my clients on what to expect during the build process, including timelines, budgets, and potential challenges. I had to ensure that my clients were fully aware of the process ahead and were committed to seeing the project through to completion.


The fourth challenge was going from managing white-collar to blue-collar workers. As an architectural designer, I primarily worked with white-collar professionals, such as engineers and other design professionals. However, as a design+build company, I now had to manage blue-collar workers, such as carpenters, electricians, and plumbers. This required a different management style and a different set of skills. I had to learn how to communicate effectively with these workers and how to manage their schedules and workloads.


Overall, my transition from an architectural designer to a design+build company was not without its challenges. However, I was able to overcome these hurdles by investing time and effort into learning new skills and adjusting my management style. As a result, I was able to provide my clients with a more comprehensive and complete service, resulting in increased client satisfaction and repeat business.

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