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.  Below we will explain our process and what you can expect from our team.

This is your first meeting with us. It is conducted at our office. It is your opportunity to interview us and for us to interview you. In this meeting, we will try to understand the big picture of what you want to accomplish as well as your concerns. If it feels like we are a good fit, we will sign the Preconstruction Service Agreement and move on to the feasibility study.

This is the information gathering and analyzing phase. During this time, the designer and production manager comes to your home to take lots of measurements and pictures.  In this meeting, we talk more about the details of the project.

Typical Questions for Initial Meeting:

  • How do you plan on using the space?
  • How often do you entertain?
  • Are there any privacy concerns?
  • Are there any safety concerns?

There is often a short backlog at this point. We control the number of projects in design at a time to control quality and customer focus. But we will let you know how long the queue is and communicate with you weekly as you wait to start your design process.

At this point, we have not started designing, but we have taken the information you have given us to this point to create an initial range of where we expect the budget for the project to be based on past projects. This is a big ballpark based on limited information and no design work. Our goal is to make the scope of work meet the budget. The feasibility meeting prevents us from creating a design that is out of your budget range or not creating a design as grand as you would like. With very little time spent this large range allows us to start providing a sense of where the project budget is likely to fall. This can often be done for less than the cost of the retainer. With your signature on the feasibility document, we will move on to the concept phase.

On large projects, there may be more than one concept meeting. In this meeting, we are laying out the general concept of the project. We will review the floor plan drawings. But there are no elevations, cross-sections, or fine details. We are also providing refined budgetary information. We are still in a ballpark, but we have reduced the size of the ballpark. After approving the concept, we will talk further about the selections to be made.

Charrette is a fancy French word indicating an all-hands meeting. This often takes place at your home and we bring in various members of our team such as the job manager, plumber, and electrician to talk through the concept and get everyone’s input on what they will need to do their part of the job and to start the process of problem-solving so that we can avoid doing this during construction.. With small projects, the Charrette will sometimes be done at our office or even via email.

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.

We present the proposal at our office. This includes complete design, short of construction documentation. It comes with a proposal and a construction contract. If only minor adjustments need to be made you can sign the construction contract and adjustments will be made with Change Orders to the contract. If substantial changes are required, you will sign the proposal letter with changes noted.

Just as we control the number of projects in design, we do the same for projects in production. Again, this is in order to control quality and client focus. We will let you know how long the wait will be and we will communicate with you weekly as you wait for the project to get started.

Before we break ground, we will meet with you at your home to review the schedule and details such as where we will stack materials, where dust walls will be installed, and where the port-o-potty will go. We will also talk about starting times and weekly meetings among other details. The agenda for this meeting is set by a checklist that we will ask you to sign verifying that we covered each of the points included.

This is your home and we want to make the process as comfortable for you as possible. By scheduling all this information, everyone is clear on the plan moving forward.

Through the duration of your project, we ask to have a weekly meeting with you at your home to review things like Change Orders, upcoming draws, and your happiness with how things are going. This meeting is conducted by the Job manager and should only take about 15 minutes. We can always do this meeting on the phone or virtually if you would prefer.

This meeting takes place right before we start covering things up at your home. Plumbing is in the walls and electrical boxes have been placed. You can see where switches and lights will be. We will review the height of fixtures and the direction of door swings. This is our last chance to move things while it is still relatively inexpensive to do so. After this meeting, the infrastructure in your walls will start to be covered with insulation and drywall. A time for last-minute changes with less impact on the budget.

Finally, the project is completed. Time to show it off. We provide a wine and cheese party for 12 of your closest friends and or family. We will be on hand to toast to your improved home and answer questions about the design and construction of your beautiful project.

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. 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.

We are proud to be a part of the BCS community since 1993 and we want to continue to serve for years 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