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What is Design/Build?

Design/Build is a method of project delivery in which one entity – the design/build team – works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services. One entity, one contract, one unified flow of work from initial concept through completion – thereby re-integrating the roles of designer and constructor. Design/build is also known as design/construct and single-source delivery. Across the country and around the world, design/build successfully delivers both horizontal and vertical construction projects with superior results – no matter what the project type!

Design/build is an alternative to design-bid-build. Under the latter approach, design and construction services are split by separate entities, separate contracts, separate work.

Design/build, design-bid-build and construction management are the three project delivery systems most commonly employed in North America today. Over the past 15 years, use of design/build has greatly accelerated in the United States, making this delivery method one of the most significant trends in design and construction today.

One Contract, One Integrated Team:

Design/build streamlines project delivery through a single contract between the owner and the design-build team. This simple but fundamental difference saves money and time by transforming the relationship between designers and builders in to an alliance which fosters collaboration and teamwork. United from the outset of every project, an integrated team readily incorporates BIM and LEED certification goals.

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What Lies Beneath

Where should we go? How much land do we need? What type of land should we be looking for? How much will it cost? These are all questions asked by owners when considering the search for a new facility location.

While the new Facility is naturally the primary piece of the planning that an owner is focused on; it is also imperative that the site is given equal attention. A hasty pursuit in acquiring a piece of property that appears and seems to be the best fit for your long term business planning can subsequently lead to long term complications.

For example, you may find a piece of property that appears to be as flat as a piece of paper and conceivably the "best fit" for your business model. What lies beneath that "paper" could end up being what looks like a mogul hill on the side of a ski mountain. Silt and sandy soil, significant rock, former lakes, high water table, field tile, garbage and so on. These are all real items that have been found when preparing a site for new construction that have contributed to construction issues including present and long term associated costs. What lies beneath can lead to quality construction or long term complications with the potential to never go away.

Conditions above the surface can also affect the viability of construction. Are there electrical lines, pipe lines or other utilities that are running through the site? How close are municipal utilities (water, sanitary and storm) to your site, if not already on site? What will it take to engineer them and bring them to your site? If not accessible, what other design criteria will be affected by not having the proper utilities? i.e. required storage tanks and bladder systems for fire suppression (sprinkler) systems if a well must be installed, septic mounds / fields if sanitary does not exist or retention/detention ponds based on the site including its implications if municipal storm water does not exist, just to name a few.

From a general usage perspective, will you have sufficient acreage to support the master plan for your business? Does the acreage support the local ordinance for required parking? If the site is too small, but meets all other criteria is it appropriate to consider underground storm water storage infrastructure? Is this cost prohibitive? Does the acreage allow efficient entrance / exiting to and from your property? If necessary, is their enough acreage and sufficient turning radius for truck maneuverability? Are you dealing with state or local roads? Will you have contiguous neighbors? What is the shape of the site? Is it conducive to your long term master plan? Will this site work geographically in serving your client base? Are there existing floodplains or wetlands?

As you, the owner or your leadership team compiles the research for your facility and location planning, answers to these questions must be confirmed. Once you have purchased a site, while you may be able to eventually resell it after finding out it did indeed carry some or perhaps significant baggage, you likely will have exhausted much time and resources for property that may not generate a return consistent with the original investment. So, in addition to obtaining clarification on the questions above, thorough research on the history of the site, previous usages and soils investigations are all important pieces to ensure your business is purchasing or planning to construct on a quality site.

Our Process

As we stated in our April 2015 newsletter, understanding the differences in construction delivery methods will benefit you in the planning of your project.

In Faith Building, we give practical tools for a successful project that promotes unity, quality and keeping your ministry focused. Here is an excerpt from Faith Building:

IN THE BEGINNING, the most frequently asked question by building and leadership teams tasked with building a project is: How do we start the process?

Construction delivery is a subject that most people struggle to understand. This stands to reason as most people are not involved in designing or constructing buildings. This is a logical place to begin our discussion as you contemplate the multiple tasks involved in building a new facility or expanding an existing one.

Certainly there are steps that must be taken before the delivery process starts, such as planning and design, but a full understanding of the construction delivery methods is vital when making the decision of which method to use.

We would love to talk with you about specific construction delivery methods. You can read in much more detail by purchasing Faith Building. To order your copy click here or give us a call at 855-672-4010.

Reviving A Dream

God used Converge Cornerstone Fund and Professional Building Services (PBS) to revive Southfield Church's dream of building a new multi-purpose facility among the fields "white unto harvest" in the southwest suburbs of Chicago.


When God says, "it's time," get ready to be completely overwhelmed! Overwhelmed. That word keeps resonating from everyone watching Southfield Church's journey over the past 24 months. These song lyrics say it perfectly, "I hear the sound of Your voice, all at once it's a gentle and thundering noise, oh God, all that You are... all that You've done... is so overwhelming."

Rewind, however, to January 2013. Southfield was overwhelmed in a different way. We felt stuck. Five years earlier we had outgrown our church home in Joliet, IL, and moved to a larger, temporary facility in Channahon. We wanted to reach the fields "white unto harvest" just south of Joliet.

The move was successful a evidenced by 46 baptisms a year later; but the financial crises of 2008 continued to hit our area particularly hard. Grundy County suffered from the highest unemployment rate in the state. So we put our building and fundraising plans on hold as we waited for God's direction.

By January 2013, life as a portable church had begun to take its toll. Our growth potential was diminishing and we began losing our ability to dream. Then God surprised us. PBS, a Christian design/build firm, presented us with a building plan that beautifully met our needs and provided a firm, guaranteed cost Still, we needed additional funds to finally make our dream a reality. We had two options: continue waiting until we raised enough funds, or borrow. We knew we'd languish if we waited much longer, but we did not want to borrow. We had seen too many churches drown in debt. Determined to make an informed decision, we collected information and advice from Eric Mansfield at Converge Cornerstone Fund. God used Eric's wise counsel to help us view borrowing a portion of what we needed as an option.

Two years ago we couldn't have even dreamed that we'd open our new church home on Christmas Eve 2014 to a standing-room-only crowd. God led. We just followed and watched Him overwhelm us at every turn. Even as our opening day drew near, God wove together the theme of our first service— the fact that He chose to RECLAIM us. We were like old pallets destined for the burn pile, but He chose to reclaim us and make us into something new. You'll find reminders that we've been reclaimed everywhere: reclaimed pallets used for the stage; reclaimed fencing made into coat racks; reclaimed furniture; even reclaimed wood fashioned into a cross. They're all physical reminders of God's work in our lives.

As we look back, we can't imagine working with anyone better than Cornerstone Fund and PBS. Both helped turn a process that can be complicated and frustrating, not only into a joy, but into relationships we'll treasure. John Bicker, an overseer at Southfield, summarized it this way, "God initiated the process. God sustained the efforts and GOD brought to fruition the results. The faithfulness and goodness of God were evident at every step of the journey. Six years of waiting was hard, but it shaped us to serve Him better. In the end, we're grateful for our wilderness experience and we agree with Solomon, 'Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.' Ecclesiastes 7:8."

There is no doubt God used Cornerstone Fund and PBS to revive our dream and overwhelm our community. All we can say is, "Thank you!"

Cloud View

Cloud View

We have a few sayings in our business when referring to the review of design plans. We commonly refer to a certain perspective when looking at the plans as a plan view or "cloud" view. This is a broad view spanning the entirety of the overall building as if your viewpoint is looking down on the building from the clouds. I encountered a unique perspective the other day as I was truly above the clouds flying north to our neighboring country. While a brief portion of this trip was spent flying over the blue waters of Lake Michigan and shortly thereafter along the brim of Lake Ontario; the majority of our trip was spent seemingly coasting above the expansive and full-bodied white clouds of the sky.


This was a great visual for thought in describing how each of us as individuals can often approach planning. We will often find ourselves lost in the clouds with our thoughts and not "grounded" with focus. These thoughts can quickly envelop us in our monumental charge to accomplish our various goals. This leads to our allowing the desire for the immediate solution to overcome the necessity of a well-planned project. When we remain above the clouds we observe a sight for what seems to go on forever with what appears to be little tangible detail. Until we descend below the cover of the clouds with an open view of the ground below can we truly see the many details that exist.


Similarly, unless we allow ourselves to take the time to descend a bit from our own desire for immediate resolve and often impractical expectations are we able to see all the detail that is necessary in the thorough preparation and planning for a well thought out project solution.