How to Choose Between a Local or National Design-Build Firm

A few points to consider before teaming up with a firm

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When it comes to choosing a design-build firm for your new home, it is important to partner with the right team. Experience is the main consideration and choosing a firm you can trust to be honest and ethical in their dealings is of utmost importance. 

So, is it your best bet to go local or seek out a national firm? A national firm will have a large portfolio to showcase its work on a wide variety of projects and a vast network of experts with invaluable skills to meet your unique needs.  A local builder will have an intimate knowledge of local regulations and established relationships within the community. 

Here are a few points to consider as you make your decision. 

Speed and delivery

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Most local firms’ sphere of operation is contained to a limited geographic region. Especially in a high-demand area, the available pool of talent and materials may be limited. In addition, local firms may be subject to artificially elevated local pricing in a hot market.

National firms have the ability to scale faster and have a national perspective of costs which inform early budgets. They are able to sidestep elevated local pricing by bringing in traveling sub-contractors and can source materials from multiple markets across the country.

Base of experience

It’s true—local firms have in-depth knowledge of the local market, subcontractor pricing and familiarity with bureaucratic red tape. But it pays to partner with a contractor who is large enough to have worked on projects in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. 

National firms have the manpower to work on projects in multiple geographic locations. They know how to build in any climate and geographic location, plus they have a diversified portfolio of experience. Because national firms deal with many projects at one time, they are skilled at troubleshooting any difficulties which may arise with greater capability.   

Knowledge of regulations

As we mentioned, local firms have a familiarity with local permitting rules and regulations. But building regulations don’t stay static. National firms realize that every market is different, so they invest in researching the latest, most up-to-date information. In addition, because they work across markets, they are skilled at building relationships and can work with any planning person in any location.

Network of connections

Although most local firms will certainly have established relationships with qualified and experienced subcontractors, their access is limited to the local talent pool. And especially in today’s tight market, many communities have a shortage of skilled workers.  

National firms can cast a wider net and most have a well-developed network of skilled professionals that they can depend on and well-established relationships with builders, designers, manufacturers, engineers, etc., across the country.

Think outside the box

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Local firms are absolutely capable of producing excellent results, but sometimes they can get stuck in a rut, doing things the way they’ve always been done in their particular locale. National firms are invested in researching and implementing the latest, cutting-edge innovations in the industry in order to stay competitive and are able to produce creative solutions on a grander scale. 

For example, roofing technology has changed drastically over the past few years. Innovations in engineering have made it possible for flat roofs to handle the weight of winter snow, making them a fresh choice for colder climates like Colorado’s mountain communities. We have introduced flat roof designs into many of our residential projects in states that had previously relied solely on peaked roofs. 

Choosing the right design-build firm for your project takes time and effort. But with a little bit of research, taking these considerations in mind, it’s possible to find the best fit to build the new home of your dreams. 

Kaveh Khatibloo is co-CEO of Stillwater Dwellings, a Seattle-based design-build firm specializing in modern luxury prefab homes. View their profile or call 800-691-7302 for more information.  

Content for this article provided by Stillwater Dwellings.

Categories: Exteriors, Native Content