The design-build method optimizes efficiency and accountability throughout the remodeling process.

At Stearns Design-Build, the process of design and construction is under one roof. By being responsible for a project from concept to completion, we are able to anticipate problems before they arise and streamline communication.

Preliminary Planning

Most people will have thought about a remodeling project for a while before they call us. Some will collect pictures of things that they like out of magazines, on Houzz.com or Pinterest.com. Some will have sketched ideas for floor plans. Most will simply have ideas in their head. While thinking about your project and collecting pictures of things you like is extremely helpful, it is always a good idea to come with a mind open to alternative possibilities as, together, we seek to create the best possible project.

Complementary Consultation

In our first meeting, we meet with you to talk to you about your project and to get to know you. This is the first date. If we decide that we are a good fit, we will proceed with the signing of the Preconstruction Service Agreement.

Field Measurements and Needs/Desires Assessment

This is the information gathering and analyzing phase. During this time, we come to your house to take lots of measurements and pictures. We will talk to you more about what you want out of your project.

Conceptual Design

Conceptual Design is the brainstorming and exploration phase. It begins with concept diagrams and rough sketches. During this phase, we determine the general layout while pinning down the size and shape of the space. Drawings help evaluate the ideas and concepts and also set the final direction for refining the design. In this phase, we are focused on things like the connection between inside space and outside space, as well as how to maximize the building’s efficiencies. We have you sign off on the concept drawings before we move on to the charrette.


Once we have a good working concept, we will call together our primary staff and trades to think about and discuss the concept. This is the best time to identify and solve problems. Often this will happen on site. On smaller projects, it may happen via email. This design-build integration saves money by providing input into the design phase from those who know how to streamline the construction process.

Design Development

In this phase, we design feature elements such as stairs, cabinetry, fireplaces, and built-in furniture. Drawings are prepared that describe the important technical details. Plans, elevations, and sections are developed.

Construction Development

Construction Development is the phase in which the design is translated into the technical language of the contractor. Working drawings (blueprints) and specifications are prepared. These documents define in detail all of the materials that are to be incorporated into the project, where the materials are to be located, and how they are to be installed. Although this phase is primarily intended for working out the technical aspects of the project, some elaboration of design also takes place.


During the Bidding phase, we distribute sets of drawings and specifications to both the crews who work directly for us and to our subcontractors. During this time, you will not see as much of us. We are hard at work behind-the-scenes resolving questions and preparing a preliminary schedule. Once all of the information and costs have been gathered, we prepare a proposal. Often, there is value engineering to be done afterwards as we work together to resolve budget issues.


After you have signed the construction contract there is still a great deal of work to do before construction can begin.  We have to prepare work orders and purchase orders as well as refine the schedule and prepare final construction documentation. Often there will also be some final selections made during this time.


Finally your project is ready to get underway. Our production department will work with you during this time to make sure that you understand what is happening as things take shape and to answer any questions you may have. The design team will continue to monitor the process to make sure that the design is built as intended. During this phase, you will have daily access to the job manager who is on the job most days performing work and overseeing the work of subcontractors. You will also have weekly meetings with the production manager. Each week, you will be asked a survey question to help us assess how you are feeling about the work we are doing for you, as well as getting daily email updates.

Warranty and Continuing Care

Occasionally, we will need to come back after a project has been finished to make adjustments. We are always available to monitor and adjust our work as necessary. We employ a third-party survey system to check with our clients after we finish each job to insure that we are continually learning from our client’s experiences. Additionally, we will call you periodically to make sure that everything is in good working order and to ask questions about the durability of the work we have done for you. Our goal is to build projects and relationships that will last for generations to come.

Rod was great as the onsite project manager! He was thorough and responsive. Hugh was great with his ideas in helping with planning. Overall, I love the results of the job. There’s not a thing I would change with the results.

— Guild Quality Review