Remodeling 101: what is the design-build process?

Do you know what the design-build process is for home renovations in Boulder? If not, don’t worry! We’re breaking it down here so come along.

Blue feature tile wall

If a beautifully remodeled home is the destination, what’s the best route to get there? Well, it depends on who you ask! Contractors may all operate in a similar manner; however, breaking down their processes bit by bit will reveal nuances that could affect whether you’d like to work with them. 

Design-bid-build, or DBB, is the US’s most common approach to remodeling – so much so that it’s referred to as the “traditional” method. And, while it sounds similar, design-build is a different, more streamlined process that utilizes an integrated team, rather than the multiple parties of DBB. 

Design-build process vs. traditional project delivery (DBB)

The main difference between these two methodologies is how the delivery pipeline is structured. Design-build is streamlined, with the overarching project management being delivered by one major entity, and collaboration between teams happening early and often. Everything is a packaged deal and saves you a boatload of time. 

Design-bid-build on the other hand sees homeowners contracting each portion of their project out individually to designers and builders. Services are delivered à la carte, which offers the freedom to pick and choose your team. 

Open-plan kitchen and living room


  • Homeowner
  • Integrated team of designers and builders
  • Subcontractors

Traditional (DBB)

  • Homeowner
  • Designer/Architect
  • Consultants
  • Builder
  • Contractors

Pros and cons of design-build


  • The bid process is time-consuming. Without it, timelines are much shorter. 
  • Staying on budget is easier because costs are determined earlier in the process.
  • Less opportunity for miscommunication. 


  • Less flexibility.
  • No bidding doesn’t always mean higher prices, but it’s not competitive. 
  • Accountability can be hard to define.

Pros and cons of traditional design-bid-build


  • Competitive contractor pricing.
  • More freedom to cherry-pick your team. 


  • Scope variations can become challenging.
  • Bids aren’t guaranteed and costs are confirmed until after the design is finished.
  • With everyone working independently, miscommunication is common. 
Exterior home entrance way

Refresh’s design-build process

Get started with an in-depth consultation

Any remodeling professional worth their salt will engage in an in-depth consultation to kick off the project. It’s an opportunity to get acquainted with your potential team and provide a high-level overview of your goals, as well as learn how to communicate and work together effectively.

Concept designs and feasibility 

Early concepting stages are essential to make key design decisions. At Refresh, we provide 3D concept drawings so you can take a virtual tour of your home and imagine yourself in your new space. You may find that what sounded like a good idea doesn’t work when you see it laid out in front of you. 

Working drawings and final pricing

Converting concept designs into tangible working drawings allows the team to finalize logistics and make any further changes to the scope if necessary. Once that’s done, you’ll get a fixed-quote for your remodel

Active construction

Everything’s in order and the only thing left to do now is break ground. No need to find contractors or reliable suppliers. We’ve got it all under control!

Walkthrough & follow up

Finalizing your Boulder home remodel is the most exciting step in the process! Before parting ways, we’ll make sure you have all the proper documentation which could include a building permit completion certificate, final inspection approval, certificate of occupancy, as-built drawings, energy efficiency certificates, or notices of completion or cessation as well as any manufacturers warranties or owners’ manuals.

Indoor outdoor flow between kitchen and poolscape

Is a Boulder design-build remodel right for me?

There’s only one way to find out! Get in touch with our experienced team of Renovation Consultants to arrange a free consultation, and we’ll show you exactly how we can take the complexities out of your home improvement project so you can step back and enjoy the experience. 

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If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh Renovations consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.

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