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What is Design-Build? How the BuildLabs Approach Brings Sustainable Construction to the Hamptons’ Luxury Real Estate Market

Tanya Klich

Is the design-build construction right for you? Let’s explore how this approach can save time, money and resources–and how it differs from costly traditional construction methods.

Building or renovating a home is usually a time-consuming endeavor riddled with surprise costs and missed deadlines–but it doesn’t have to be. Sustainable firms are pioneering innovations centered on design-build construction, an approach that paves the way for more transparency throughout the project. The best part? Sustainability is ingrained into the process, from start to finish.

“From supply chain to building materials, to site impact, we take care of the environment by design,” says Punit Chugh, cofounder of BuildLabs, a holistic construction firm based in Bridgehampton, NY. It also happens to follow the design-build model.

First, what is design-build? Design-build construction is a project delivery method where a single firm manages the entire build process, from the design phase to final construction. This approach has grown over the past decade. Research from the Design-Build Institute of America expects 22.5% growth in total design-build spending by 2026, as its time and cost benefits outpace traditional construction.  

Unlike traditional construction methods where the owner contracts separately with a designer/architect and a contractor, design-build provides a single point of contact for the owner, simplifying communication and streamlining the decision-making process. Under design-build, the design and construction teams work together under a single entity, and this collaboration brings about a unique experience and superior end-product.

This collaborative approach allows for greater efficiency, innovation, and problem-solving during the design, construction, and post-construction phases. This ultimately means less waste of materials and money. According to Architect Magazine, residential building, renovation and demolition account for roughly 58 millions tons of construction & demolition trash per year.

“One way to effectively reduce waste at a construction jobsite is to develop a teamwide culture that is mindful about how they efficiently use materials and recycle,” says Chugh.

While the design-build approach is a win for the environment, it’s also a win for the clients. Anyone who has built a home via traditional means has experienced project delays and that’s largely due to fragmented teams. This trickles on to further downsides, like material waste (which contributes to high costs), safety risks, the stress of managing multiple contractors, and environmental impact. After project completion, the homeowner can discover further drawbacks, like quality inconsistencies, design flaws, and difficulty with maintenance and renovations.

“We’ve all heard of these design nightmares,” says Chugh. “But as more like-minded, passionate builders enter the field with a client-first ethos, builders who do not value sustainability and craftsmanship simply won’t survive in an industry where the next wave of homeowners value transparency now more than ever.”

Chugh explains that under design-build, integrated teams only lead to unified workflows and faster project delivery–and perhaps most importantly to the client, cost savings.

After more than a decade in operation, the BuildLabs team has witnessed firsthand how the benefits of design-build continue way beyond the post-construction phase. Because design-build typically focuses on sustainable building methods, the end-product usually results in better air quality due to better, non-toxic materials, as well as proper ventilation systems.

Chugh says we can take a longer-term view on design-build’s echoing effects. A home built via the design-build process can command higher market value as construction trends continue to lean toward sustainability. It will also inevitably attract eco-conscious tenants or buyers. Design build also employs precision construction, leading to durable buildings that can withstand weather conditions and survive the test of time.

To learn more about how the design-build can serve as your path to building your own custom-home, reach out to our team for an introductory call: 631-204-5590.