Lego Bricks by Benjamin Esham, on Flickr

Why Design-Build is Like Building the Millennium Falcon from the Lego Kit, Not Garage Sale Finds

As an avid Star Wars fan you promised your nine-year-old son that your next project together would be building the Millennium Falcon. Great Father-Son time, right?

Then you go to the Lego store and the cost seems steeper than you had imagined. But it does come with 6 figures including Han Solo and Chewbacca, of course. And who can turn down a rotating laser cannon?

Plus, it has the directions. Now, you can go online and download them but pfft, it’s not original.

Still, your wife says it’s not in the budget so you get creative.

You decide to download the directions and use the lego bricks from the seven collections you already have. Good thinking – frugality is a plus.

The Falcon needs thousands of pieces! Who wants to start a project you can’t finish?

First things first. You must take a physical inventory. Do you have everything you need? This is going to require at least one six foot table in your garage or game room, definitely away from the cats. You’ll also need Post-its, a Sharpie for labeling the Legos in Ziploc bags, and quite a bit of time. You can’t start the build until you have all the parts.

After hours of labor, you realize you don’t have all the right parts. So you hit up Cragislist, eBay, and garage sales. Surely you have enough to just get started, right?

Just for fun, here’s a time-lapse of a 5,000+ piece build. Enjoy!

Back to our story.

After boosting up your inventory, you have enough parts. Not everything you’d ideally need, but enough. You saved $40 and built the sweetest ride in all of Star Wars history – that’s the best family project ever.

However, in your attempt to save money, you spent more time than you needed, wasted gas driving around town, and in the frustration you lost more hair than you can afford. What do you have to show for your efforts? You built a primary-colored Falcon that Han Solo wouldn’t be caught dead flying.

Instead of trying to piece-meal your next construction project, why not consider Design-Build?

Our friends at Burgin Construction, Inc. just wrote a great piece comparing and contrasting design-build versus design-bid-build. I love this quote:

“This team works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services. One entity and one contract equals one unified flow!”

Can you decide hardware schedules and fixture types if your architect can’t? Are you equipped to answer a contractor’s barrage of questions? Do you need an architect and an electrical engineer? What a about plumbing? Are the drawings correct or complete? When we competitively bid, we want to make sure we’re all bidding the same exact scope.

As the owner, you’re the middleman between the architect you hired and every single contractor that’s bidding the project. All requests for information go to you. Can you answer them? Do you have the time?

Instead of being frustrated, why not just go for design build?

You hire the General Contractor and he hires the architect. Boom. It’s like buying the Millennium Falcon kit. It seems pricy at first but in the long-run it saves you time, money, and frustration. Now, that’s how you escape the grip of the Death Star!

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