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  • Writer's pictureBuild Forward



A polaroid photo of a group of people who represent most of Build Forward.
A snapshot of most of the team at the office (Curry and Javier are pictured on the left)

When embarking on a construction or renovation project, one of the foremost concerns for clients is undoubtedly the cost. In this Q&A, we delve into the insights provided by Curry King, our construction manager, and Javier Montalvo, our CEO, as they share their strategies for saving clients money through real life examples from their projects. From negotiating with subcontractors and offering multiple cost-effective design options, to navigating complex regulations and passing along discounts, this discussion hopefully sheds some light on the various avenues through which Build Forward prioritizes their clients' financial well-being. Whether you're a homeowner planning a project or simply curious about the inner workings of the design build industry, we're hoping these tips and real-life examples can help inspire more efficient and budget-conscious approaches to your next endeavor. Let's dive in!

Q: How do you negotiate with subcontractors to achieve cost savings for your clients?

A: (Curry) Negotiating with subcontractors plays a significant role in saving money on our projects. Having established relationships with subcontractors is key. For example, in the case of a roofing project, I was able to leverage my relationship with a subcontractor to reduce the cost by 30% compared to what a homeowner might have paid independently. We use these relationships not only during construction, but also during the design phase to ensure the project stays within budget.

Q: Can you provide an example of how you utilize subcontractors to keep costs in check during the design phase?

A: (Javier) During the design phase, we gather quotes from various subcontractors and materials suppliers to estimate project costs. If the initial quotes are over budget, we seek additional bids from trusted subcontractors, often having two options for each category of work. This competitive approach helps us find the best value for our clients. We prioritize specialized subcontractors for tasks such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and roofing, as these areas tend to have the most significant cost impact.

Q: How do you address budget concerns in the design process?

A: (Curry) One way we address budget concerns is by providing multiple design options with different price ranges. We work closely with clients to ensure that the design aligns with their financial goals. An excellent example is when we modified a complex deck design, reducing the cost from $20,000 to $5,000 while still achieving the desired functionality. This not only saved money upfront but also in long-term maintenance.

Q: Could you explain the importance of considering building codes and regulations in the design phase?

A: (Javier) Building codes and regulations are crucial in saving our clients money. For instance, in a project like an ADU we completed a while back, we navigated specific requirements to classify it as an office space rather than a dwelling. This decision saved the client approximately $1,000 in taxes annually and avoided a system development charge of around $15,000. By being knowledgeable about these rules, we can help clients make cost-effective decisions.

Q: How do you pass on cost savings to clients?

A: (Curry) As a design-build company, we can access discounts through our suppliers and vendors, often around 30% less than retail prices. We pass these savings directly to our clients, ensuring they benefit from our industry connections and partnerships. In this way, our clients can obtain quality materials and services at a lower cost than if they were to undertake a project independently.

Q: Can you elaborate on the importance of warranties in saving clients money?

A: (Javier) Warranties are essential for cost savings. With our three-year warranty, if any issues arise, we can leverage our relationships with subcontractors to have them address the problem promptly and at no additional cost to the client. If a homeowner undertakes a project independently, it's often more challenging and expensive to have subcontractors return for warranty work, leading to extra expenses.

Q: In summary, how does the design-build system prioritize saving clients money?

A: (Curry) Our entire design-build system is geared towards saving our clients money. We negotiate with subcontractors, provide cost-effective design options, navigate regulations, pass along discounts, and offer warranties to ensure our clients get the best value for their investment. Our goal is not only to stick to their budget but also to find ways to save them money throughout the project and after.

Incorporating these practices into your design-build projects can help clients achieve significant cost savings while delivering high-quality results. If you're eager to see what kind of savings we can help facilitate on your next project, don't hesitate to send us a message at, or contact us here.

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