Design and Build

Great homes can only be realised with great design and it’s for that reason we partner with Scotland’s leading architectural practices to offer a holistic service, where builders and architects work together to create the best home for your lifestyle and budget.

room with a painting and plants
staircase with wooden and steel railing

What is Design and Build?

Design and build is a project delivery method, which brings together both the design and the construction teams as one entity. The client hires the design/builder to perform both the design and construction under a single contract, providing one point of contact and accountability for the entire project.

The design and build approach allows for early collaboration where builders and architects work together from the start of a project, bringing their construction or design expertise to the table.  It allows all team members to share their ideas for creative and innovative solutions, which leads to faster and more cost-effective project delivery.

With early practical input from the construction team, potential issues on site can be ‘designed out’ before leaving the architect’s desk, saving time on rework at a later - and more costly - stage in the project. It ensures any construction challenge is met early on with the appropriate competence, precision and technical expertise.

The design and build process also improves budget control. The client specifies their budget up front, and the design and build team works to meet that budget from the very beginning, tracking construction costs throughout the design process.

bedroom with a view
kitchen with fireplace and table

Traditional Contract Method

Design and build is different to the traditional contract method (sometimes referred to as design, bid, build), where the client has separate contracts with an architect and a builder.

The architect is firstly hired to design the project and prepare drawings.

The client or architect then begins the tender process, inviting and waiting (sometimes months) for builders to submit quotes to construct the project. If the quotes come in over the client’s budget (and they often do), the project is forced into a value engineering phase, so it’s back to the drawing board to make design and spec changes which can take several more months.

house under construction

Once the design has been reworked, builders will again submit quotes for the project and the preferred builder is selected to carry out the work.

The architect and chosen builder bear no contractual obligation to one another and the client bears all risk associated with the completeness of the design documents.

This may create problems throughout the project because there is not a single source of responsibility. If a problem arises, the architect and builder may blame one another rather than work together to find the best solution. Whereas with design and build, everyone is on the same side and shares responsibility if a problem arises.

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Design and build projects are proven to be schedule and budget friendly. According to a Pennsylvania State University study, design-build's production schedule was 33% faster than the traditional contract method. When researchers compared price, they discovered that design and build cost 6% less.

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bedroom with a tv

Why Choose Design and Build?

It may surprise you to learn that under the traditional contract method many home designs never get built.


They were designed over the client’s budget.

Unfortunately, this means you, the client, waste thousands of pounds on design fees and precious time.

Architects don’t automatically design to a client’s budget. It’s only when you take your design drawings to a builder for a quote, you may discover the construction costs are beyond what you want to spend or can reasonably afford. After months of designing your dream home, this can be a devastating emotional, financial and timeline setback.

Although architects are well-meaning, it can be difficult for them to source the information/construction science required to accurately quote a building project and their approximate estimates can vary widely.

aerial view of house construction

The easiest way to avoid this is by choosing the design and build method. This is where you hire a professional design-builder (with architects and builders under one roof), who then collaborate with you to create the best home for your budget and lifestyle.

This simple but fundamental difference saves money and time by transforming the relationship between builders and architects into an alliance which fosters creative collaboration and budget control.

The architect manages the creative design, but the builder and architect work together on construction science and costs. When construction costs are tracked throughout the design phase, the risk of crippling overspends decreases.

It’s also an opportunity to identify site related challenges early on. These can include soil testing, topography, and many more variables. The builder’s construction expertise ensures any structural issues are dealt with before they become a problem on site.

Developing a good working relationship with the builder early on also ensures that any issues which may arise during construction can be resolved in an open and honest manner. Some projects take more than 18 months, so you want to be sure your building experience will be smooth and enjoyable.

woodstone house firehouse and sofa interior
bathroom with bath tub and towels

Design and Build vs Traditional Method

Cost Construction costs initially unknown – cost certainty only achieved when builder quotes received Construction cost realised and fixed from initial design phase
Communication Client acts as middleman between architect, contractor and subcontractor companies. High risk of miscommunication across multiple parties Single point of contact throughout the project
Control Different stakeholders with conflicting objectives Shared team approach and common goal
Value Value engineering occurs when building contractor is appointed Value engineer occurs at outset of project
Risk Client retains the risk of architect or builder non-performance Diminished risk and liability with single, unified team
Time Design and construction are sequential – typically resulting in longer project duration Construction can overlap design completion = faster moving project
construction workers building a house
aerial view of a house being built

Our Design and Build Service

  • Cost Visibility

    We establish a realistic budget at your first consultation and then the design and build team works to meet that budget, tracking construction costs through the design phase.

  • One Project Manager

    Coldwells is a small family business, which means you will never have to deal with multiple site managers, operations managers, client relationship managers, construction managers, or salespeople. Your one point of contact will be company director, Ross Booth. Ross will personally manage your project, working with you from beginning to end. You will be given Ross’s personal mobile number and he will be available to you directly, even after you move in.

  • 24/7 Access

    You will receive a login to our online client portal and app which allows you to track progress of your build in real time. You can view daily job schedules, budget tracking, progress photos, site reports, invoices and make selections to customise your new home. Whether you’re at home, at work, or on holiday, all the information relating to your build will be at your fingertips.

  • Collaborative Expertise

    We involve our vetted, highly experienced and trusted subcontractors in the design phase and encourage them to present their ideas and information. This communicative process is what enhances innovation and creativity and ensures any challenge is met with the appropriate competence, precision, and expertise.

  • Organised Scheduling

    At Coldwells, we have established a system we call, ‘construction slots.’ We decide at the beginning of the year how many projects our team can realistically build while maintaining our high standards, and then spread out the start dates evenly. This prioritises the quality of the homes we build by limiting the number we have under construction at any one time and is part of how we can offer realistic timelines to our clients.

  • Award-Winning Construction

    - Our award-winning team of detail orientated craftsmen are the lifeblood of our company. Through training and promoting from within, and our thriving apprenticeship programme, Coldwells values and high standards are passed from one generation to the next.

  • No Stress

    Using our design and build method, you have one contract and one company held accountable for all the different phases of your project. That’s just part of why our customers love the process and are gracious with referrals.

  • Personalised Aftercare

    We believe that project handover, doesn't mean that it's over. We will follow up at one, three, six and twelve months to ensure your home is defect free and put right any snagging issues. We’ll remain as your team, your support and your partner for as long as it suits your needs.

house sorrounded with grass and trees
full outside view of a large house

Every Coldwells custom home project is a collaboration of people, skillset and experience.

We always look forward to connecting and collaborating on new projects. Get in touch to explore the home we can create together.