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A Unified Front with Design-Build


Design-build is a project approach where the designer and contractor work under one contract for a seamless process comprised of all the necessary design and construction services. In a nutshell, it’s a one-stop shop for your design and construction, making everything easier, faster, and more cost-efficient.

This approach avoids possible confusions and conflicts stemming from the complications of two separate contracts and entities for one project. With design-build, there is one single point of recommendation and responsibility, thus avoiding unexpected changes, conflicts, and expenses.

As with any design, the design-build process has its steps:

  1. First Meeting

In this first meeting, the contractor showcases his qualifications, while the client gives some background information. An overview of the project is discussed, including priorities. Budgets and average costs are also discussed, followed by an explanation of the design-build process. Details are given regarding design choices, fees, and services.

  1. Design Meeting

The architect or designer is introduced, along with the project’s overview and budget. It is at this stage that what the client desires to be built is decided, based on needs and wants. For example number of rooms, functional spaces, amenities, etc. Priorities are redefined, fees are discussed, and a design agreement is established.

  1. Design Agreement Meeting

The Design Agreement is reviewed. The architect sets the design program with the client. A series of sketches are presented regarding the general arrangement of rooms and the site as a whole.

  1. Field Measurement Meeting

Obtain field measurements for the site via a site survey. Determine if client’s square footage requirements can be accommodated.

  1. Preliminary Design Drawing Submission to Client

Architect’s plans are reviewed. Here, detailed drawings, floor plans, and specifications are presented. Plans are almost ready to be submitted to the Central Planning Authority (CPA).

  1. Prepare and Submit Preliminary Design Cost Estimate

Obtain estimates from major design subcontractors. This includes permit and government fees, provisional items, and contingencies. Preliminary costs are discussed and required changes are made.

  1. Planning Permission Application

A necessary step before submitting and applying for a permit in the Cayman Islands. It requires a basic set of plans for review and presentation to the Central Planning Authority (CPA) on Grand Cayman. Permission from Current Planning is required before proceeding with a permit application.

  1. Prepare Construction Drawings

The client begins to make product selections. This includes interior design selections such as tiles, bathroom fixtures, door hardware, etc. Detailed construction and specifications are set. At this stage engineers and other consultants are formally engaged. Construction documents are now ready for submission to the Cayman Islands Building Control Unit (BCU).

  1. Prepare, Submit Final Project Bid, and Apply for Permit. 

Main subcontractors provide final bids based on the final drawings. Review of drawings, costs, and final scope. Product selection must be finalized before applying for the permit.

  1. Preconstruction Meeting, Groundbreaking, and Construction.

Meet Project Manager and review the order of events. Discuss the first three weeks of construction and review key issues. Throughout construction, the architect will conduct a weekly meeting with the client and contractor, to ensure design integrity is maintained and any issue is addressed as construction progresses. During construction, the client will also meet with the interior designer to decide on furniture and other interior design elements and considerations.