One of the very first steps of any custom home project is for the homeowners to assemble the right team to make their dreams a reality. Most homeowners ask themselves what comes first: “architect or builder?” Many homeowners start by hiring an architect or an architectural designer [we’ll refer to both as “designer” for simplicity] to draw up plans before seeking a builder to execute those plans. While this is an acceptable approach, designers don’t always know the potential costs of the homes they are creating. A better approach would be to include your builder in your meetings with your designer at the beginning of the project so that there is an expert in the room who can speak to cost and execution. We enjoy working with designers and being involved in the design process, even if we aren’t doing it ourselves. There are many incredibly talented designers in the Denver area and if that is who you feel most comfortable doing the designs for your home then that is the way to go!


As a design-build contractor, we would argue that the best approach would be to work with a design-build firm such as Timber Ridge Properties. A design-build contractor brings the designer and the builder together from the first design meeting through the end of the project.


By developing a partnership with a builder who will also help throughout the design process, you eliminate the risk of designing a home that is beyond your price range. As the one doing the actual construction, your builder will have incredible insight into the execution of the plans your designer is drawing in terms of cost, feasibility, and timeline. We’ve experienced the unfortunate circumstance where a designer draws up plans that the client falls in love with but ultimately cannot afford. When your builder is involved from the planning stage onward you know that your plans will be affordable and feasible.


Architect vs. Architectural Designer

You may be wondering, “What is the difference between an architect and an architectural designer?” Both professionals went to school for architecture. The main difference is that an architect passed the AREs and acquired a license. A good architectural designer has the same expertise as an architect, but they are not licensed. Without a license, the architectural designer commands a much lower fee to produce construction plans. If the neighborhood HOA where you purchased land allows, hiring an architectural designer to design your home could save you some money. A design-build firm can help guide you to the best professionals for your home. At Timber Ridge Properties, we work with several extremely talented designers in the Denver area that we are more than happy to recommend to our clients.


One Common Goal

Your designer and your builder should have one common goal: making YOU happy! During this collaborative project, you should all agree on the vision and consistently communicate about the budget, logistics, and plans. When your designer and builder collaborate from the beginning stages of the project you will avoid issues related to budget, change orders that impact your project timeline, and accomplish your vision for your dream home.


Timber Ridge Properties is a custom home builder and remodeler in the Denver area and has been working with designers to bring dream homes to life since 1985.